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Avoid Holiday Blues, Tips for Staying in Budget and out of Debt

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The economy is causing some shoppers like Maureen Johns, director of brand innovation with City Credit Union, to reign in her spending this holiday season. Johns says she plans to spend about 20 percent less than last year. Although it might be hard to stay in budget, Johns said she’s determined and is already practicing willpower against the sales. To help avoid blowing the holiday budget, Johns says she has already figured out how much she spent last year, and has put together a plan that will help control this year’s spending. She’s also already decided how much she can afford to spend on each person and is currently researching online where to find the best deals. She also plans to get creative, giving certificates (i.e. free night of babysitting) of “service” for friends. All excellent measures for avoiding spending yourself into debt during the holidays, according to Courtney Nickles, executive director of the Texas Credit Union Foundation. The National Retail Federation’s 2009 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey finds that U.S. consumers plan to spend an average of $682.74 on holiday-related shopping, a 3.2 percent drop from last year. Not surprisingly, the economy has put a damper on things, with more than 65 percent of Americans saying the economy will affect their holiday plans this year, and 84 percent saying they will spend less. Despite good intentions, many consumers' financial goals unfortunately tend to fall by the wayside when it comes to the holidays, and holiday shoppers typically end up spending more than they had planned. Nickles and Johns join Texas Credit Union League president and CEO Dick Ensweiler Nov. 19 for a thought-provoking discussion of what fuels overspending during the holidays; how to avoid charging yourself into debt; the consequences of blowing your holiday budget, and how to get out of holiday debt.

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