10 Holiday Budgeting Tips

  1. Know your spending limit. It is estimated that families are spending more than last year. The average family budget for 2012 is $749.51, which is up over last years budget of $740.57, and the gift budget for 2012 is estimated at $548.56, which is slightly up over last year  by $6.00.
  2. Work that budget and plan ahead. Categorize your budget into family, friends, co-workers and leave a little aside for acquaintances like teacher, dog walkers and the paper boy.
  3. Plan to start shopping early to avoid lines and over paying for must have items. Scoop up sales now and get some of the must have items off your list. Most families, nearly 40% start shopping in November, while 20% of families procrastinate and begin in December, leaving 40% starting as early as October.
  4. Save money by using coupons. More than 39% of families seek out coupons for their holiday shopping.
  5. Buy practical gifts. Over 27% of families purchase necessities or practical gifts to avoid buying items that are not desired.
  6. While shopping try to avoid buying gifts for yourself. It can be tempting to pick up a couple of items here and there for yourself. Roughly 59% of shoppers plan to spend an average $139 on themselves this holiday season.
  7. Men tend to spend more on holiday shopping. Be aware if your sending Dad out to complete some of the shopping check-list items, men often spend more with an average holiday budget of $567.61 over women who plan to spend $530.60.
  8. Avoid Credit Cards. Its so easy to head out on a Saturday and throw all your shopping purchases on your credit card, but its also easy to overspend that way. Take out cash and be more aware of your spending when you have it in your pocket.
  9. Secret Santa. If you have a large family, instead of everyone stretching the budget to buy a gift for each individual, why not draw names and just be in charge of purchasing one gift. This will not only save money but time shopping for multiple gifts.
  10. Big gifts don't mean more. Its easy to get wrapped up in all the gift giving this holiday season, but remember that is not what the holidays are all about. A small thoughtful gift can be as meaningful as a big expensive one. Take the time to think of something inexpensive and thoughtful, it will surely be cherished by your loved one!

Source: http://myfamilyfinances.net/2012/11/average-family-spending-on-christmas-gifts-2012/