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Almost 6 in 10 Americans Feel Pressured to Overspend on the Holidays. Here’s How to Celebrate for Less

The holiday season is now in full swing. Many consumers are deep in the throes of tackling their shopping lists. But if that’s becoming an increasingly stressful thing by the day, you’re not alone.

Almost 60% of Americans say they feel pressured to spend more than they’re comfortable with on holiday items, according to a recent survey by CouponFollow. And it’s easy to see why. The holidays only roll around once a year, so you don’t want to feel like you’re disappointing your children or friends by skimping on certain purchases. At the same time, you don’t want to close out the holiday season with a mountain of credit card debt.

Not only can credit card balances be costly to pay off, but too large a balance could cause damage to your credit score. Either way, racking up a large pile of credit card debt is not a great way to start a new year.

If you’re feeling pressured to overspend on the holidays, here are a few approaches to shopping you may want to take.

1. Set your priorities

Maybe your kids really want extra lights outside your house this year, new electronics, and a blowout Christmas dinner with desserts galore from their favorite bakery. That’s understandable. Kids are kids, and the holidays are special.

But if you can’t swing all of those things, figure out which items are apt to have the most meaning. Your kids may be willing to forgo the extra holiday decor if it means getting the items at the top of their wishlists. And if you can’t swing a dessert spread, ask your kids to narrow down their absolute favorite item from their preferred bakery and go with that.

2. Swap gifts for experiences

You may want to check every item off of your kids’ gift lists. But if that’s just not doable, think of things you can do as a family that will still allow everyone to enjoy a festive December.

Instead of five or six gifts per child, stick to two. Then, take the several hundred dollars you’re saving and use a fraction of it to plan a family outing, like tickets to a play at a community theater or ice skating.

3. When all else fails, go homemade

It’s one thing to get fewer gifts for the people you love. It’s another thing to skip out on gifts altogether for certain people because it’s just not in your budget.

If that’s the case, fall back on homemade gifts, which might cost way less than store-bought items. A batch of home-baked cookies, for example, might go a long way with your aunt or grandmother if money is tight.

Another option? Go to your local dollar store and buy some low-cost picture frames. Then, search through your archives, find a few great family photos, and throw them in those frames. It’s an extremely inexpensive gift from the heart.

If you’re feeling pressured to overspend this holiday season, try not to succumb to it. You don’t want to start the new year in a tough financial spot, and a few tweaks might help you celebrate the holidays without landing in debt.

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