As the year comes to a close, spending in most households heads up -- on holiday gifts, entertainment and, depending on where you live, on already high energy costs.
It's easy to lose control. So make a plan now to minimize debt while putting money where it absolutely needs to go.
Put your current finances under a microscope
Call it a gift from you to you. If you're trying to get your finances in order, plan a visit now with a financial adviser, such as a certified financial planner professional. This meeting should extend beyond your holiday spending to setting goals for saving, investing and extinguishing debt and setting financial goals for the future. You also can examine your spending patterns and the emotional drivers behind many of our financial decisions.
Create a holiday budget
If you have credit card debt now, you don't want to elevate those numbers. Set a spending number you will not exceed and start setting aside cash in an account to cover it. When should you make the budget? As early in the year as possible, but if you haven't started shopping yet, figure out how much money you can realistically set aside and stay as close to that number as you can.