The countdown to the holiday season has officially begun with decorations on store shelves and gift catalogs filling mailboxes. A recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association shows that individual consumers plan to spend $1,634 overall this holiday, up 11 percent from last year. Unfortunately, much of that spending will be done on credit cards. That may make consumers feel gloomy when they get their bills in January.
"Smarter money management" is a common New Year's resolution for many people. So why not get a jump on things now and budget and spend wisely this holiday season? People often go off the financial rails when the holidays roll around, says the Minnesota Society of Certified Public Accountants (MNCPA). Developing a spending plan and sticking to it can help keep you on track and keep you from drowning in post-holiday debt.