PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The holiday shopping season is right around the corner. If you haven’t started budgeting yet, experts say start now.
Spending sprees and holiday sales make it easy to go over budget this season. But there are easy ways to rein in your spending.
“Knowing right now how much you’re going to spend for the next two months and really setting limits for yourself,” said Chris Burns, a financial expert with Dynamic Money.
Tip No. 1: Make a budget and stick to it. Experts say once you assign a distinct dollar amount, get more specific and list who will be on your gift list and be realistic about how much you’ll spend for each person.
“If you do that, not only do you end the year feeling better about your finances but it also sparks creativity so the gifts you end up giving tend to be better,” Burns said.
Tip No. 2: Start early and shop with a plan.
“That’s enough time to really make a plan and say this is what we have, and now let’s go look at creative gifts now, not three days before Christmas,” Burns said.
And No. 3: Get the family involved.
“What if you brought the family into it and said ‘look, this is the amount of money we have. We can spend it on the next best gift for you, but we would also love to spend it as a family. What do you think about that?'” Burns said.
And remember, spending less doesn’t make those gifts any less meaningful.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers say they will spend an average of $1,407 this holiday season — that’s up 4% from last year.
Shoppers between the ages of 35 and 44 plan to spend the most.