The average shopper is expected to spend about $700 more over the holidays, compared to last Christmas.
That's according to Survey Experian.
And to stretch budgets even further, some are taking risks to get a good deal.
Starting back in October, retailers have been fighting for your business this holiday season.
But before you rack up charges, accounting professor J.P. Krahel says create a plan.
Krahel says, "The best thing would've been to start budgeting months ago but given that that's not something on everyone's radar, I would say the second best thing is to avoid debt if possible and choose the best kind of debt if necessary."
He's talking about interest rates and promotional offers with new credit cards.
Retailers, like Walmart, Peloton, and Ring, have also partnered with affirm to offer payment plans.
"So if they can entice you to buy and then pay over time, that may help them because they get bigger sales and it may help you because then you're able to pay with no interest, smaller, manageable payments without getting taken advantage of," says Krahel.
While looking for deals, don't fall into the trap of sending money to suspicious retailers.
A recent survey finds that shoppers are risking identity theft in search of the best bargain.
Use a credit card, not a debit card online for extra protections and only open new accounts when it makes sense
Rod Griffin, Director of Consumer Education for Experian, "So if you're using a credit card for example to make purchases online, you're protected for losses against identity theft if that were to happen. It also can help you save at the checkout center if you apply for credit and get that instant discount but only do that sparingly, maybe one or two stores, you don't need to do it everywhere so have that plan."
You can still bring holiday cheer without setting yourself back in the new year.
Try your best to stick to your budget, but if your spend beyond your means, don't be afraid to assess the damage.
Krahel says, "It always takes personal strength honestly to be able to look at your own credit card statements sometimes."
"And some credit cards will offer six months zero interest financing, great give me those six months than racking up a bill, not looking at it, and then being nailed with interest and having to pay over 8 months because they didn't look," says Krahel.
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