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Profitt Report: Season of giving, how to keep from overspending

Photo credit: MGN

The season of giving can also be the season of excess. It’s easy to overspend and wind up with credit card debt. This is expected to be our most expensive season yet: consumers are expected to spend nearly $970 each according to the National Retail Federation.

“We're spending more, people seem to splurge more,” said Mindy McIntosh, financial professional in Freeland.

About a quarter of Americans buy gifts for themselves this time of year according to market research firm Mintel. Instead of splurging on something you might not need, McIntosh said there’s a better way to treat yourself.

“Sometimes just giving to yourself without any money, give time, go to the gym, read a book,” McIntosh said.

Or, you could save some money for an emergency: think three to six months’ worth of expenses on hand said McIntosh. Tucking more cash away in a 401(k) is another option.

When it comes to giving gifts to others, McIntosh said create a budget and stick to it!

“Not only the normal utilities, household bills, but how do we budget for the holiday season?” she said.

If you’re tempted to buy a few more gifts before Christmas Day, go back to that budget and see if you can afford it.

Last, don’t feel like you need to spend a fortune. Homemade items show that you’ve spent time, instead of money, on a gift.

“These homemade types of items that don’t cost a lot more come from the heart. Crafty type of items are great things to do this time of year too,” McIntosh said.

The Profitt Report wants to hear from you - please send consumer questions and story ideas to ProfittReport@WSMH.com

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