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
Local

Apple says its systems not to blame for…

By Edwin Chan and Christina FarrSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The week before a crucial launch of its new iPhone, Apple Inc said intimate photos of…

Local

Tallest residential building planned for lower Manhattan

A residential tower planned for lower Manhattan will soar 1,356 feet in the air -- just 12 feet shy of 1 World Trade Center. When…

Local

Bronx man commits suicide by decapitation

A Bronx man committed suicide Monday morning in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx by decapitating himself. According to the NYPD, the 51-year-old man…

Local

Top cops enroll in Twitter course at John…

NYPD officers are reportedly getting a lesson on the best way to use 140 characters or less. The New York Post reported Tuesday top officers…

Arts

Pop culture and prostitutes: New Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at…

Henri Toulouse-Lautrec documented the cult of celebrity and the rise of pop entertainment in his prints, posters and lithographs — now on display at MoMA.

Arts

PHOTO: Extreme artist Eskil Ronningsbakken balances unicycle on…

Extreme artist’ Eskil Ronningsbakken balances on the edge of a cliff face at 4,600 feet – on a unicycle. The Norwegian travels across the globe, balancing over vertiginous ravines, tall…

Music

Hear two previously unreleased Adele songs

Missing some Adele in your life? Two previously unreleased songs from the singer have appeared online.

Music

Lincoln Center just made 'Lord of the Rings'…

Middle Earth already has sweeping vistas, a hero's journey and technology-revolutionizing special effects. But next April, the Lincoln Center will add another dimension to Peter Jackson's…

NFL

Jets expect to make playoffs after sitting on…

The same pundits who predicted the Jets would be woeful a season ago are now eying the playoffs for this revamped team.

NFL

Antonio Allen returns to practice after concussion

Antonio Allen was cleared to practice again following his concussion two weeks ago.

Sports

Belinda Bencic leads crop of young stars serving…

Belinda Bencic, a 17-year-old Swiss Miss, beat two Top-10 players before suffering a disappointing loss Tuesday in the quarterfinals.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels take control, Tigers and…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels take control, Tigers and Giants climb

Parenting

In defense of making a mess during playtime

"Recipes for Play" authors Rachel Sumner and Ruth Mitchener think playtime should involve the five senses and making a mess is part of the fun.

Wellbeing

Jason Hope helps push anti-aging efforts forward

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article When it comes to age-related illness, the direction of modern medicine seems more reactive than proactive. In…

Wellbeing

Today's Doomsday preppers: a closer look at survivalist…

Reporter was commissioned to write this in-depth article. The term “Doomsday prepper” is often associated with the paranoid, anti-government stereotype of the 1990s. The truth…

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…