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How To Keep To Your Holiday Budget

The last thing anyone wants is a financial hangover on January 1st.
The last thing anyone wants is a financial hangover on January 1st.  There are a few simple things you can do now to keep your budget in tact while spreading holiday cheer.

The holiday season is big business. The average shopper will spend nearly $750 this year, according to National Retail Federation.

"I put so much money aside that I have in cash I have in an envelope and that's what I spend and when it's gone, I'm gone," Nancy Ferris said.

Nearly 80 percent of shoppers are expected to pick up gift cards.

"I buy gift cards for everybody so I do it all one day and I go out and buy gift cards for everybody," Ferris said.

They are a time-saver and good for your budget.

"If I went into a store and I was going to purchase something for my niece when I only wanted to spend $25, I would then typically spend $35 or roughly 30 percent more, so we think gift cards making a lot of sense," Brighton Securities financial advisor Mike Francis said.

More than half of shoppers are expected to buy gifts online.

"If I go to a mall or store and purchase something, I will typically spend 50 percent more doing than than if I buy it online," Francis said.

Some shoppers say they have enough willpower not to overspend. 

"Always a budget but just to get them something that they really want; but there's always the limitation. You can't get carried away," Patricia Locicero said.

Francis says if you are strapped for cash, try changing your holiday giving traditions. 

"It can be fun and challenging; at the same time to go to a system of saying I'll just simply buy one particular gift for a member of the family rather than buying for ten," Francis said.

If you are using a credit card, Francis says moderation is key. Mike Francis says Black Friday can be a black hole for your budget. He says if you are going to go out, choose the items you want to buy and leave the store as soon as you get them. 
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