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How can I avoid overspending during the holidays?

If you’re having money trouble, the holidays can be a very scary time. It’s easy to spend exorbitant amounts of money during this season, whether on gifts for your loved ones or buying food in preparation of a holiday meal. In order to keep your finances on track, Forbes offers the following advice.

Set a budget and stick to it

A reliable budget will be your best friend over the holiday season. When it comes to gift-giving, make a list of your loved ones and attach a dollar amount you can comfortably spend on them. If you’ll be traveling, look for ways to cut costs on airfare and lodging. Consider cutting down on some of these costs if your finances are lacking. You don’t want to bankrupt yourself over a little holiday sheer.

Keep track of spending

If you’re having trouble creating a budget, track your spending for a while. This will give you idea of how much you’re spending each day and how it lines up with the budget you’re working with. When you have the numbers down on paper you can control your spending much easier than if you have a vague notion of how much you’re spending.

Be mindful of convenience costs

Unnecessary expenses can easily add up over the holidays. For instance, you may find yourself eating out more often after shopping all day or grabbing a quick coffee the morning after a holiday party. Keep yourself on track by limiting convenience expenses wherever you can. Pack a lunch for work, eat at home, and get up early enough to enjoy a cup of coffee at home before work. 

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