Americans spend hundreds of billions of dollars buying gifts during the Christmas season. Inevitably, some people get carried away by the excitement of the season and spend more than they can afford. Here are some tips to make sure you don't end up with a debt headache after the holidays.
Budget: "Spend no more than 1.5% of your household annual income on holiday gifts and entertainment," suggests Practical Money Skills, a website operated by Visa. The site offers a holiday budget calculator at http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/holiday.
List: Make a list of every person for whom you want to buy gifts. With that in hand, you can make best use of "two for the price of one" offers and similar deals.
Research: Check prices and product reviews online, even if you plan to buy in person. "Not only will you save time by researching ahead of time, you'll also save money on gas by not driving all over town," the National Retail Federation notes.