‘Money: It’s Personal’ — How to avoid holiday debt

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is providing some tips to help you come up with a holiday spending plan to "sleigh" your finances this season.

SAN ANTONIO – Hold on for "deer" life because the holidays are almost here, and you "snow" the drill! It's a time when many of us are spending money on presents for our friends and family and "spruce" things up in our homes.

But wait, there's "myrrh." The holidays can put a financial burden on even the savviest shoppers. So the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is providing some tips to help you come up with a personalized holiday spending plan to "sleigh" your finances this season.

First, set up a budget. Account for typical expenses, such as bills and groceries, and what you'll be spending on during the holiday season, such as decorations, gifts and travel expenses.

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Next, make a list and check it twice! The CFPB recommends making a list of the gifts you're going to buy and cross them off as you go. Review your list before going out to shop, so you don't leave anything off.

Going shopping with a list in hand could help you avoid impulse purchases. And if you can't make it “rein” with cash, that could lead to debt.

If your budget is tight this season, considering making meaningful gifts that may cost a fraction of something store-bought. Some low-cost gifts can include things such as homemade mason jar cookie or soup kits, a recipe book with custom photos or a personalized scrapbook.

Now, decide how you'll pay for your gifts and decorations. The CFPB recommends only bringing the amount of money you plan to spend when you go shopping. If you use a credit card, create a plan for how you'll pay your bill once it comes in the mail.

Finally, track your holiday spending. Make sure you're sticking to your budget. Otherwise, “yule” be sorry!

So whether you jingle your bells, roast some chestnuts over an open fire or chase after Santa, you’ll be financially prepared this holiday season.

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For more tips from the CFPB, click here.

“Money: It’s Personal” is a series on KSAT’s News at 9 that breaks down personal finance topics. If you have a suggestion or question on the types of topics you’d like us to explain, email iherrera@ksat.com.

For more stories from KSAT’s News at 9, visit KSAT.com/newsat9.

About the Authors:

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and KSAT.com includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.

Rick Medina is a Video News Editor at KSAT. A graduate of the University of Texas' prestigious Radio-Television-Film program, he has been in the news business for more than 20 years. Rick is also a documentary filmmaker, helming the award-winning film festival favorites, “The Opossum Begins” and “Amigoland.” He is originally from Brownsville.