Personal Finance


For many people, getting into the holiday spirit means stringing twinkly lights everywhere, hosting parties plentiful with food and drinks, piling stacks of gifts for loved ones — and overspending.

If you head into the season of giving without a budget, there’s a good chance you’ll come out on the other side with a holiday hangover in the form of debt.

NerdWallet’s Consumer Holiday Shopping Report shows that 27 percent of consumers who shopped during the 2016 season had no budget, and another 24 percent went over budget.

The survey also showed that 56 percent of shoppers last year incurred credit-card debt, up from 48 percent in 2015.

“A lot of people are still paying off holiday debt from last year,” said Kimberly Palmer, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet. “You don’t want to be in that boat.”

Holiday budgets typically involve several components: gifts, decorations, food and travel (although if you haven’t booked flights by now, finding good deals will be challenging).

Here are some tips to help you set a budget for the holiday.



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