Avoid overspending this holiday season

Overspending during the holiday shopping season can lead to financial hardship come January.

Financial planner Paul Oster says that he is in favor of using gift cards to shop for loved ones for the holidays.

“Once you pick a budget for the people you’re going to shop for, buy a gift card to use and once that gift card is done, you’re done shopping for that person or group,” he says.

Oster says that other ways to avoid overspending during the season include putting money aside in advance and using cash or debit cards. Studies show that consumer spend less than using cash than with credit cards.

He also suggests considering a gift exchange instead of buying a gift for everyone.

“If you’re shopping for a group that’s more than two or three people, I would suggest doing some sort of Secret Santa model. You don’t have to buy gifts for everyone in the group, because everyone feels the same way you do.”

Oster also says that “regifting” is OK as long as it is a nice gift and you don’t give it back to the person who gave it to you.

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