INDIANAPOLIS — The holiday season is basically here. Between early Black Friday sales and decorations up at stores, your spending is likely starting soon.
But spending needs to have its limits. Experts say one-third of credit card shoppers are still paying off last Christmas.
That's where a holiday budget comes in.
First, where you store the budget is important. To keep to your numbers top of mind, they need to be accessible when you're out and about.
Kimberly Palmer with NerdWallet suggests keeping it in the notes section of your phone, or in a Google Doc that's sharable with a spouse.
Not only should you include gifts, but the items that slip through the cracks.
That includes holiday cards and postage, gifts and gift wrap, decorations, and food. With meat and seafood prices up, your holiday dinner is likely to be more expensive.
Next, set boundaries.
When your kids ask for more toys or gadgets, explain how money works.
"One really helpful approach, I think, is to emphasize them buying gifts for other people, because then they can have practice comparing those prices and actually seeing how much items cost," Palmer said.
Instead of buying for every extended family member, suggest Secret Santa. That way, each person only needs to buy one gift.