girl with shopping bags who spent too much

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Overspending for Christmas can cause a lot of financial stress for a family, but it is easy to do when you do not have a plan that limits the amount of money that you spend on things like gifts, decorations, food and transportation. If you save throughout the year and set a spending budget, it can be much easier for you to resist the temptation to overspend during the holiday season.

Set a Christmas Budget to Prevent Overspending

The key to setting creating a Christmas budget is to remain realistic about what you can afford and commit yourself to following those guidelines. The amount of money that you can spend might vary from year to year, so you may want to begin thinking seriously about how much money you can spend at the beginning of the year so that you have a good idea of what you can afford when you begin your Christmas shopping.

If you are traveling for the holidays, then you might have to reduce the amount of money that you spend on gifts. Creating a concrete budget that only allows you to spend a certain amount of money on travel, gifts, food and other expenses will reduce the temptation to overspend because you will be forced to budget the money that you have for the things that are most important.

Use Cash to Avoid Overspending During Christmas

Sometimes the stress of getting the right gift seems more overwhelming than the potential financial stress that your family could experience if you overspend during Christmas. It is particularly tempting to overspend if you are Christmas shopping with a credit card because you can forget how much money you have actually spent. If you have the cash in hand, though, then you cannot exceed the amount of money that you have budgeted for Christmas. Leave your credit cards at home to reduce the temptation to spend outside of your means and keep close track of the cash that you spend.

Start Christmas Shopping Early to Avoid Overspending and Financial Stress

When you wait until the last minute to buy gifts, you are setting yourself up to overspend because you can get desperate when you find some items have sold out. Suddenly, you find yourself buying a 75 dollar shirt instead of a 20 dollar scarf for a cousin you only see once a year. When you start your Christmas shopping early, though, you can make a plan that helps you stick to your budget. This reduces the temptation to grab overpriced items in a rush to find a gift for someone.

Starting your shopping early also gives you time to look for bargains. While there are often good sales prior to Christmas, the best ones often come immediately after the holidays. If you already have a plan for whom you need to shop for, then you can take advantage of these and other sales throughout the year. You get the benefit of less emotional stress as well as less family financial stress because you do not need to worry about how much time you have left to buy presents.

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