The following editorial is from the Richmond (Kentucky) Register, a CNHI newspaper. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Tribune-Democrat.

With holiday shopping underway, consumers will be spending their hard-earned dollars at record levels this season once again.

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual consumer spending survey, consumers plan to spend an average of $1,047.83 during the holiday shopping season, which includes gifts, food, flowers, decorations and greeting cards. This year’s planned spending is up 4% from 2017’s $1,007.

Consumers said they will spend nearly $658 on gifts for others and $227 for items such as food, decorations, flowers and greeting cards this year.

While spending is up, so is credit-card debt.

Results from NFCC Consumer Financial Literacy Survey revealed that one in four Americans admit they do not pay all their bills on time, and nearly one in 10 now have debts in collection, both showing a slight increase from last year.

Yet, there are many ways consumers can avoid trouble. The simplest, though, is setting a budget.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez said the best way to stay within budget “is to make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for, what you want to get them and roughly what those items will cost. After that, figure out what your holiday budget is and if your budget and the list of gifts don’t match, then you need to prioritize gifts and come up with alternative ideas for the most expensive ones.”

While that may take more time than one would like, it will be worth it in the long run.

And remember, you don’t have to break the bank to show appreciation. One can always make a do-it-yourself project that won’t break the bank.

This holiday season, spend your hard-earned money wisely with a budget. And make sure it is memorable for the right reasons. 

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