Part of the joy of the holiday season includes all that shopping for those gifts and parties. And for many of us, that also means stressing about that holiday budget.
According to a survey conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education, only 31% of Americans will make a holiday budget this year, and half of the people who responded said they're more worried about how to pay for the holiday season than they were 5 years ago.
"Well it's important to have a detailed budget and to do that you need to begin by determining how much you can realistically afford to spend on your expenses," said Brannan Emery, Branch Manager of Tyler's Consumer Credit Counseling Service.
To do that, Emery says you should make a detailed list for your holiday spending that includes everything from gifts to food to holiday travel.
"You want to try to remember everything you can so when it comes down to crunch time, you haven't forgotten anything that can bust your budget," Emery said.
Even if you've already started your holiday shopping without a budget, that doesn't mean it's too late to make that list.
"It's really never too late, just as long as you can do it before you go out and start making your purchases. Make an amount for each category and stick to that amount when you're out making your purchases," Emery said.
Emery warns that if you're using your credit card, you should realistically only spend what you can pay off in one month, and definitely not any more than three months.
"Studies show that if you have holiday expenses you're still paying after three months, they're going to be there for the next holiday year, you'll still be paying those off," Emery said.
And if your budget is really tight, Emery says you should consider using your talents and skills to give homemade, personal gifts.
"Oftentimes those gifts that include your expertise and time can be more meaningful than the pricy items that you get," Emery said.