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Christmas Clutter: 6 Expenses You're Probably Overspending On

3 Minute ReadTopic: budget

During Christmas, a lot of us will look for any excuse possible to justify overspending.

That 60-inch television? It was 20% off! And my eyes are bad!

The $200 LED lighted tree? My kids really wanted it. And our other tree is three years old!

The daily $5 peppermint mocha? It’s Christmas, and it’s peppermint! I have to!

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In 2014, Gallup estimated that Americans spent an average of $750 on Christmas gifts. That’s just the average! And that’s just on gifts!

If you’re spending several hundred dollars on gifts, the last thing you can afford is to spend even more money on stuff that isn’t necessary. (Not that all gifts are “necessary,” but you get the point.)

So if you’ve reached the limit of your Christmas budget, you might need to cut back spending in some other areas, like:

1. Decorations

That tree looks like it belongs on the Vegas strip, not in your living room. Keep it simple with a basic tree and the lights you’ve been using for years. If you really need a new tree, then you might have to cut Cousin Bob and Aunt Clarice out of the gift budget.

2. Wrapping Paper

Hopefully, you kept the gift bags you got last year. If so, then you’re doing this Christmas giving thing right. If you don’t have any wrapping paper or bags, then feel free to go as cheap as possible with your wrapping paper. Find something red or green that’s easy to tear apart in three seconds, then move on.

Related: The Christmas Budget You've Always Wanted

3. Food

Say no to the peppermint mocha! Now, maybe you’ve budgeted $150 for the month of December to buy your daily mocha. If that’s the case, then go right ahead. But how much could you save by cutting the daily coffee runs in half? The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend more than $100 on holiday candy and food. That’s a lot of money you could put toward more practical Christmas spending—like your spouse’s gift!

4. Parties

If money’s tight, your annual Christmas shindig might be off this year. But that’s okay! You’ll spend a lot less money by going to other people’s parties, so return those RSVPs and enjoy the holiday festivities without busting your budget!

5. Clothes

Speaking of those Christmas parties you’ll be attending—you don’t need a new outfit for every one, you know. If last year’s dress just won’t do and you must have something new, then you can find fashionable clothes at a reasonable cost at many larger stores.

6. Stocking Stuffers

If you’re like most people, your stocking purchases go about like this: Oh crap! It’s Christmas Eve, and I forgot about stocking presents for the kids! You then proceed to drive to the nearest pharmacy or grocery store and spend $30 on candy, half of which won’t even get eaten. That about right? Skip the stocking stuffers, or at least plan ahead if you want to fill them up with something meaningful and useful.

Bottom line: If you’re looking to save money this year, keep the focus on the gifts and cut out all the clutter. You will get along just fine with last year’s decorations. And your budget (and tummy) will thank you if you cut back on the mochas.

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