Americans are expected to shell out $184 billion dollars this holiday shopping season, according to a recent report from online financial website, NerdWallet.com.
According to the report, the average American will spend $825 on gifts this holiday shopping season, up $50 from last year and more than $300 from just five years ago.
And while shoppers will soon be queuing up outside of retail stores for early morning shopping deals, NerdWallet found an estimated 35 percent of consumers are still paying down the debt they incurred last holiday season.
NBC 7 Responds spoke to experts for some tips on how to budget and how you can prevent this year’s holiday shopping debt from following you into the new year.
“I recommend having a budget and not just a budget for gifts but a budget for all of your holiday spending,” Mary Beth Storjohann, financial expert and planner for Abacus Wealth.
Added Storjohann, “A lot of times it’s the travel combined with the gifts, combined with the parties that brings people completely off track and into the red.”
Storjohann recommends making a spreadsheet in order to make a list of the names of those you are giving gifts to and the dollar amounts you plan to spend, as well as how much you actually spent.
Financial writer for NerdWallet, Kimberly Palmer, also has another tip on how you can save this holiday season.
Palmer recommends asking retailers about price-matching, using coupons or promo codes, and by going to doorbuster sales events.
”Tracking prices and making purchases when they dip, whether it’s months before the holidays or at the last minute, can help stretch your budget,” Palmer says. “Apps like ShopSavvy and browser add-ons like Honey can help you get the best price.”
Both Palmer and financial planner Storjohann recommend utilizing credit card points and cash back offers as a good way to save cash this holiday season.
“Instead of taking on debt into the new year, maybe try paying off your credit card balance each month in order to accrue cash back or points to help stretch your holiday budget,” added Palmer.
Storjohann agrees. “Ultimately, you have to pay off those balances, so if you’re accruing debt for the holidays, it is definitely going to catch up with you.”