How To Avoid A Holiday Finance Hangover

By Andrew DePietro

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Lauren Greutman, a frugal-living expert and author of the book “The Recovering Spender” says there are ways to save during the holidays without incurring serious damage. Greutman says, “The magic is in the budget.”

The amount of money Americans spend during the holidays is pretty incredible. In 2015, holiday retail sales totaled more than $630 billion, according to Statista. With so much money being spent, it makes sense that so many people find themselves in post-holiday debt. Indeed, according to the TD Bank Merry Money Survey, 78 percent of Americans have overspent on holiday purchases in the past.

Luckily for you, there are ways to save during the holidays without incurring serious damage. When it comes to recovering from your holiday spending hangover, “The magic is in the budget,” said Lauren Greutman, frugal-living expert and author of the book “The Recovering Spender.” But a budget is just one piece of a smart holiday spending plan, so here are eight steps to help you fully recover from your year-end shopping spree.

Not enough Americans make holiday budgets. Only 52 percent of Americans create a holiday budget, according to the TD Bank survey.

Planning is almost always essential to maintaining good financial standing. With holiday shopping and spending, this rule absolutely applies. “Set a budget and stick to it,” said Howard Schaffer of “After every shopping trip, log into your accounts to check your balances. Set up account alerts so you’re always reminded of your purchases.”

Make sure your plan is pre-emptive, so you have a good idea of how your shopping will affect your budget. Schaffer suggested
setting a spending limit for each person that you’re buying presents for.

On top of a spending limit, plan out your holiday shopping as early as possible. “You should consider budgeting for Christmas starting in January,” said Barry Choi, personal finance and budget travel expert at Money We Have, a budget travel advice website. “Like anything else in your budget, set aside a set amount oevery month so you’ll have the funds available for the holidays next year.”

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