The Average Consumer Plans to Spend $507 on Holiday Gifts This Year. Can You Swing That?

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  • Holiday gifts will likely comprise a large chunk of consumers' holiday budgets this year.
  • There are steps you can take to spend less on gifts -- and avoid debt in the process.
  • Start your shopping early, keep receipts for price-matching, and consider homemade gifts where appropriate.

It's certainly not a small amount of money.

The holidays tend to be an expensive time of the year. And this year, they might cost the average consumer even more due to inflation.

In a recent report by Deloitte, consumers say they plan to spend an average of $1,455 on the holidays this year. And of that, $507 is earmarked for gift-buying purposes.

Now on the one hand, $507 may not seem like a large amount of money for gifts, especially if your personal list tends to be extensive. But if you're in a financial crunch -- say, your rent has gone up and your savings are largely gone as a result -- then you'll need to be careful with how much you spend.

Overspending on gifts could be just the thing that drives you deep into credit card debt. And that's a fate you should do everything you can to avoid.

Don't let gift-giving push you into debt

Many people rack up holiday debt because they want to bring joy to other people in the forms of terrific gifts. But while that's a nice thing to want to do, harming your own finances is not a nice thing to do to yourself. And so rather than risk debt due to gift-related spending, take steps to keep your costs to a minimum.

First, start your holiday shopping as early as you can. That way, you'll have more of an opportunity to compare prices and scope out different sales events.

Next, make a point to keep receipts for the gift items you buy, and continue to track their prices even once those items are tucked away in your closet, basement, or garage. Many retailers offer price matching during the holidays (as well as year-round).

So, let's say you buy something on sale for $39.99 and you spot it even further discounted to $29.99 a week later. That retailer might be willing to refund you the difference without a hassle provided you have your receipt as proof of purchase.

Keep in mind that some retailers will even match lower prices offered by competitors. So if you buy a given item at Target and Walmart ends up selling it at a lower price, Target might step up and match that better offer.

Finally, don't assume that every gift you give out has to be purchased in a store. If you're crafty or know your way around an oven, consider homemade gifts like hand-knitted scarves and hats or batches of cookies instead. Your loved ones might appreciate those gifts from the heart, and homemade gifts might cost you a fraction of what you'd pay at a local retailer.

Keep your spending in check

Whether you're planning to spend $507 on holiday gifts this year or a very different total, your goal should be to limit your spending to a number you can comfortably afford. And if you employ the right strategy, you can make the most of a more limited budget -- and avoid closing out the holiday season with a pile of debt to pay off.

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