Christmas shopping can be the most expensive and stressful shopping experience of the entire year. Many stores count on last minute, frantic shoppers to overspend out of desperation. Crown Financial Ministries has compiled a list of these Christmas Budget Busters for you to protect your budget.

If you feel stressed or rushed while you are shopping, you’ll likely spend more money than planned. Advertisers take advantage of your stressed, frenzied state by placing overpriced, popular items on enticing displays front and center in the store.

How to avoid it: Make a list and a budget now, even if you do all your shopping on December 24. Take 15 minutes to plan your purchases and your budget, and take a trustworthy friend to keep you on track.

This Year’s Must-Haves.
Maybe you’re looking for a hatchimal, the new FitBit, or the iPhone X. Companies plan major product releases during the Christmas season and are relentless with their advertising.

How to avoid it: Slow and steady saves the most money! Most of these items are extremely overpriced and prices will drop over the next 6-8 months when some of the hype has died down.

The Trigger Store.
This is the store you tend to overspend in year round. If you’re already used to buying more than what was on your list, your Christmas budget will be in real danger here.

How to avoid it: Don’t let yourself go! Unfollow their social media accounts, ignore the sales, and ask for gift cards there as your Christmas gift.

The Over-Promised Commercial.
Ever notice how you’ll see the same commercial over and over starting around Thanksgiving and leading all the way up to Christmas? But when you get to the store, the item is completely sold out, even though the commercial is still running? The store is luring you in with an enticing ad but then forcing you buying a different item since the marketed one sold out long before.

How to avoid it: Ignore commercials, ask for specific wish lists from family and friends, and call the store to see if the item is in stock before you drive over. They may even hold it for you!

The Friendly Sales Clerk.
Many stores hire seasonal employees to compensate for the busyness of the Christmas season and they are making money based off commission, so they are very motivated to get you to spend more.

How to avoid it: As nicely and politely as you can, stick to your original list and say “no” as many times as it takes.

The Too-Good-To-Be-True Sale.
Even if something seems like a good deal, spending more than you budgeted for is never a good idea, no matter what the value may be.

How to avoid it: Stick only with what’s on your list. Write your list with a pen and paper so you can cross each item off as you purchase them. Items only come off the list, nothing is added to the list.

Hopefully these budget busters and ways to avoid them will help you have a very Merry Christmas and budget-friendly New Year. If you don’t have a budget you love for this Christmas season, make one with Crown’s easy-to-use guide!

Christmas is just around the corner and we wish you a very happy one – not because of the gifts you are going to get and give, but because we are celebrating the true meaning of Christmas!

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