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Don't Go Broke This Holiday Season!

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Money expert Jean Chatzky tells us how to survive the holidays without going into the red.

woman paying at cashier

"With unemployment at 9.8 percent, many people are wondering how they are going to be able to afford the holidays," says financial guru Jean Chatzky. But with a little planning, it CAN be done, she says. Here are her top tips.

  • If you are going to charge gifts on your credit card, make sure you can pay them off no later than February. Otherwise, use cash or a debit card.
  • Look at your finances. Is there anything you can cut back on in the next month to offset holiday spending?
  • Make a holiday budget. It should be 1 to 1 1/2 percent of your annual take-home pay. (Go to my website to try out my holiday spending calculator.) Expect that you will go over the budget, just like you would on a home renovation. And be sure to factor in the cost of wrapping paper, entertaining and holiday foods -- that's all part of it.
  • Buy a gift for the whole family instead of gifts for each individual person.
  • Give the gift of yourself in less expensive ways than you have in previous years. Bake cookies or brownies, or give babysitting coupons.
  • Small local charities are really hurting this year. Give a donation in a friend's name. When they receive a card letting them know you've made a donation, they won't know how much you gave.
  • If the one thing your kid wants most is out of your price range, see if you can get Grandpa, Grandma or even aunts and uncles to pitch in. Kids are feeling the stress too this year -- so if they get that one "big" present on their list, it will really mean a lot.

Click to buy Jean's book, "Pay It Down!"

Read more tips for super savings this holiday season!

next: Maintaining the Santa Myth
8 comments so far | Post a comment now
Brittany Burton December 16, 2010, 6:07 AM

Ok who is the stupid guys on t.v.?That mother suing mcdonalds is right

Cherri - Leesbur,GA December 16, 2010, 9:17 AM

About the Mom wanting to sue McDonald’s over toys in the happy meal, it seems to me that a happy meal or two would not be harmful to kids if they got out in the yard and played instead of sitting on their butts playing videos all day!

Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 2:13 PM

Great site! Good reading. I’ve got one observation to submit about funny t-shirts.

Anita Papaioannou March 29, 2011, 7:42 PM

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porn April 3, 2011, 3:25 PM

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