Black Friday: Avoid the dreaded overspend

Bring your list -- and check it twice-- if you want to avoid buying something you can't afford.

Americans will spend $465.6 billion this holiday season. That’s a 2.8 percent increase from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Great news for the economy, but not so great for the wallet of you, the consumer, who is spending even more.

Temptation is great: First, Black Friday door-busters, then three-day weekend sales and even Cyber Monday! If you want to reign it in this year, the credit counseling non-profit Take Charge America has put together a list of overspending pitfalls. Avoid these common blunders, and it could help you stay within your means.

1. Finding your gift inspiration at the mall. Make sure you have a plan before you hit the store. If not, you could make an impulse purchase or be more likely to shop outside your budget. It’s a good idea to check out deals online to compare and contrast before you head to the mall.

2. Putting your gifts on layaway. Layaway might seem like an attractive option at the time, but what it really means is that you probably can’t afford the gift to begin with. You’ll likely be charged fees for the luxury of paying it off in installments. Nobody wants you to go into debt over a present for them.

3. Springing for the fancy gift wrapping. All of that wrapping paper, bags and ribbons can add up to costing more than the gift did in the first place. A cheaper and more personal option? Using newspaper or letting your kids decorate white wrapping paper.

4. Hosting a gig holiday party all by yourself. Entertaining is an expensive endeavor that can easily add up to hundreds of dollars even for a small get-together. Tis the season to be jolly — not broke! If you’re dying to host, try a potluck or stick to one signature drink for the night instead of a huge variety of booze.

5. Dressing up your house like Santa’s workshop. Aside from being a bit weird, it’s also a budget buster to overdecorate your home. Use handmade decorations or trade with family and friends for a fresh look each year. When it comes to lights, remember your electric bill! Try to limit how long they’re twinkling and don’t leave them on overnight.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Putin fields question from U.S. fugitive Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor who leaked details of intelligence eavesdropping, asked Russian President Vladimir Putin a question on Thursday during…

Local

Cops release sketch of Madison Avenue jewelry robbery…

Authorities continue to look for a man suspected in a $54,000 jewelry heist at a Madison Avenue store from from last week.

National

Rapper affiliate of Wu-Tang Clan 'cuts off own…

Rapper Andre Johnson, who has performed with New York outfit the Wu-Tang Clan, is in a critical condition after reportedly cutting off his own penis…

International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

The Word

Lawsuit accuses 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer of raping…

A new lawsuit accuses director Bryan Singer of sexual assault against a minor.

Movies

The Cannes Film Festival announces its 2014 lineup

The lineup of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival was announced this morning, promising the latest from a slew of usual (and some unusual) suspects.

Television

‘Survivor: Cagayan’ recap: Episode 8

Sure, it's called Survivor. But this season should really be called 'The Tony Show.'

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

NBA

Knicks wrap up season with win over Raptors

The Knicks wrapped up their season as it began — undermanned — but that still didn’t deter them from ending it the right way.

MLB

Adam Warren closes out doubleheader sweep for Yankees

Adam Warren navigated a tricky ninth inning earn the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Cubs.

NHL

Marc Staal healthy, eager to contribute to Rangers…

Marc Staal remembers the feeling of helplessness watching his teammates compete for hockey’s ultimate prize and being unable to contribute.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.