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Stay Merry

Some things to avoid if you want to stay on budget this holiday season

It’s easy to let the holiday spirit ransack your budget. But this year, why not take a different approach? Here are some things to avoid this time of year so that you stay on track.

Buying Presents for Everyone. And We Mean Everyone.

You don’t have to buy a gift for everyone you know. We understand, giving presents is fun. But it isn’t kind to your budget. Instead of automatically buying gifts for everyone around you this year, be more selective. USA Today suggests talking to coworkers and extended family about options — maybe you skip gifts from now on, maybe you only buy presents for the youngest kids, etc. You might be surprised by how many people are feeling the same way about gift giving and have been looking for an out.

Signing Up for a Retail Credit Card

Retailers are watching you this holiday season. They are begging you to sign up for one of their credit cards. They’ll tempt you with a discount on your purchase. Don’t fall for it. Retail credit cards carry a giant interest rate that completely wipes out their worth. According to a recent report, the average retail credit card APR is now 26 percent. Meanwhile the average non-retail credit card carries an APR of about 17 percent. If you must use a credit card for holiday shopping and you plan on paying off your purchases over time, use your normal card and stay away from retail branded cards.

Going Overboard with Your Kids

Your kids might want a million toys, but they don’t need quite that many. Science backs this up. According to a report published in the medical journal Infant Behavior and Development, kids who had fewer toys played with them longer, in more varied ways, and for longer periods of time than kids with more toys. Less is really more.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea