Many Americans will tighten their belts this holiday season, which others still feel the pressure to buy, buy, buy thanks to catalogs that entice their children with toys galore.
It is easy for consumers to get caught up in Black Friday sales - which don't always offer the best bargains. Some holiday shoppers spend more than they budgeted for with unexpected, last-minute gifts, or pressure from friends or family to buy big.
Want to have a nice Christmas without breaking the bank? Here are some questions to ask yourself while Christmas shopping:
- How badly do I, or my family, need this item?
- Is this a quality item that is a long-term investment?
- Can I pay for this in cash and still pay my bills?
- Can I pay this off this month?
- Can I find this cheaper somewhere else?
- Would I buy this if I waited until tomorrow?
- Am I willing to give up something else to afford this item?
- Can I make this at home for less cost?
- Am I buying this because it is needed, or because I feel pressured to do so?
Be sure to check your debt and winter bill estimates first to determine your holiday gift-giving budget. Don't forget to include holiday meals in your budget. These, too, can get costly.
If you like to shop online, MSNBC offers this Web guide for sites that help you find the best deals.