Curb holiday debt this year

November 3, 2011 2:14:49 PM PDT
With the economy a looming concern, retailers believe most consumers want to exercise some restraint during the holiday shopping season.

But a consumer reports poll found shoppers have some habits to break from last year. They found that consumers actually spent 22 percent more than they had budgeted or planned. Forty-five percent set a budget, but blew through it and six percent were still paying off last year's holiday bills as of last month. That's 14 million Americans.

And even though its advice everyone has heard before, it's time to set a budget and really, really stick to it. No excuses. Decide a budget for each person and stick to it.

A discount bonus for opening a store credit card might seem like a good way to trim costs, until you see the real bottom line. Interest rates are almost always very high on most of these cards.

If you're going to use plastic try to use a card that works for you. Try to use some sort of cash back or reward points so while you are spending, you can also end up saving a little bit of cash.

And know where you stand before you start spending, by giving yourself the gift of a credit report.