State Bank is kicking off the 2012 holiday shopping season with tips to avoid a post-holiday credit hangover.
A National Retail Federation survey released earlier this month showed consumers will spend an average of $749.51 on gifts and holiday goodies. We spent $740.57 per person last year, the group said.
Here's how that spending breaks down:
— $421.82 on children, parents and relatives
— $75.13 on friends
— $23.48 on co-workers
— $28.13 on others, including pets
— $100.76 on food and candy
— $28.66 greeting cards
— $19.55 on flowers
— $51.99 on decorations
All in all, the federation is predicting a $586.1 billion haul from the holidays.
Keep in mind that January bills are only a couple of months away. If you’re not budgeting for your holiday purchases, you’ll find yourself bringing in the New Year with last year’s debt.
- Create a budget and stick to it. Set a dollar amount based on what you can afford this holiday season. Be sure to include a cushion for unexpected expenses.
- Make a list. Write down the names of the people you plan to buy gifts for and how much you can afford to spend. Don’t forget expenses like wrapping paper, cards and postage.
- Bake some cookies. If you can’t afford to buy gifts for everyone on your list, bake some holiday goodies and wrap them with a bow. Handmade gifts are a special way to say ‘Happy Holidays’ without overspending. Be sure to include these costs in your budget.
- Use credit wisely. Your credit card balance shouldn’t be a complete surprise when you open your statement in January. Avoid going into debt for gifts.
- Save your receipts. Keep track of your expenses and add them up weekly to be sure you’re sticking to your budget. If you’re getting close to your spending limit, reevaluate your list and bake more cookies!
- Shop around. Start your holiday shopping early to give yourself time to comparison shop. Take time to do some research before you hit the stores by going online or looking at your local newspaper circulars.