Tips for Staying on Budget this Christmas

Tips for Staying on Budget this Christmas

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(KSL News) -- Holiday budget a mess? No shopping done? No problem. Beginning today we are teaming up with FM 100 to gather for you the best ideas on how to balance family, work, your time and your money.

We call it "Smart Woman," and today, Jill Atwood of FM 100's 'Dane & Jill In the Morning' has some advice on how, with a little creativity, the holidays don't have to make you crazy. This story is for all of you still paying for last Christmas. We've got some helpful ways to cut corners without cutting the Christmas Spirit.

Believe it or not the two words can go together -- Holiday and Budget.

"It's always more expensive than I anticipate and always I spend it faster than I think I will."

And even though it's already November, it's not too late to get a handle on your Christmas spending. Planning and creativity are the real keys to your peace of mind this holiday season.

Joy Strine, Financial Peace University: "You can organize your home time and spend more time with the family and not out with the rush trying to pull everything together, and I think you can be more thoughtful."

First, take a look at last year; are there ways to cut corners this year? Consider making gifts or drawing names if you come from a large family.

Next, set a dollar amount and don't forget the wrapping paper, cards, decorations, and shipping costs. It all adds up.

Finally, make a shopping list and stick to it. Write down the person, the item and the exact amount you want to spend. One sure way to stick to your budget is to always spend cash. Keep this in mind, it's a lot harder to hand over a couple twenties than it is to hand over the credit card.

Joy Strine, Financial Peace University: "If you are spending on a credit card, more than likely you are going to spend 34 percent more because you impulse, there's no emotion attached to it."

Add interest to that card and you're still paying for Christmas next year.

Joy Strine, Financial Peace University: "We tell people to always remember that Christmas is always in December. Rearrange your budget, decide what you can do without and find away to pay for Christmas instead of going in debt."

If coming up with the extra cash for Christmas has you stressed out, here's a couple of suggestions: have a garage sale, consider a seasonal part-time job, or throw all the money you'd spend on eating out over the next couple months into a jar and see what you come up with.

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