Holiday Survival Guide: Staying within your budget

6:59 AM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Ask people what the biggest stressor during the holidays is and chances are, the answer will be money.

Holidays can not only get expensive, it seems that stores are starting the celebrations earlier each year.

Stores stock up on foods, decorations -- anything to get you in the spirit and get you in the mood to spend.

Channel 3 financial expert Kevin Myeroff says it's easy to get swayed by emotions but when January comes, reality hits.

"When you get those credit cards and say, 'Oh my God, what have I done!'" Myeroff says.

Myeroff calls this the post-holiday blues.

To avoid overspending, Myeroff says you have to change your money mentality.

"Figure out what you want before you go out," he explains. "Be a hunter, not a shopper. These stores are experts at getting you to impulse buy and that will rack up your budget and destroy it if you're not careful."

The key is having a plan and sticking to it.

• Figure out your overall budget, and then break that down for each person on your gift list.

• Set aside an envelope for each person and write that budget on the envelope.

• Each time you go shopping, bring the specific envelopes you need.

• Every time you buy something, put your receipts in the appropriate envelope.

"When you get home, take out those receipts and on the budget, mark out how much you used and how much you have left," Myeroff explains.

If you have any left over, you can always put that towards another gift.

The trick? Just don't go over your original budget. If you know you'll be tempted, just carry the exact amount of cash with you.

That way, you can't spend any more.

If you can stay on budget, there are advantages to using a credit card. If an item is lost or stolen, the credit card company will reimburse you.

You may also have special perks when using your credit card.


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