Avoid overspending this holiday season

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Black Friday is coming up this week and financial experts said it's important for families not to lose track of their bank account. For many families, shopping for gifts during the holiday season isn't easy. It takes time and money to prepare.

According to a survey by the American Research Group, 38% of consumers have already purchased some of their gifts. Katie Shamboin of Grand Junction said her family tries to plan for their holiday shopping. "We always know that in December we are going to spend a little more money than every other month and we try to put away, and pull some cash out of the year to save up for Christmas shopping," she said.

Shamboin said she tries not to spend more than $300 on her kids, who always ask for the newest and hottest toys. "I have two girls so Monster High is the most popular thing this year. They love, love, love, Monster High, but Nerf has come out with a bow and arrow type kind of like the Katniss type," she said.

The survey also said nationwide shoppers on average will spend $801 this holiday season. That is down from $854 last year. Other results show 38% of shoppers will purchase by catalog and 43% will buy gifts online. However, no matter where consumers purchase their gifts, 46% say they will wait for the sale. Shamboin said, "I haven't the best luck shopping online, sending stuff back is a lot harder online than it is in the store so I usually go in store."

J.D. Miller, Owner of Miller Financial Advisors, LLC. said it's important for families to create a budget to avoid over spending during the holidays. He said, "Another way to say that is a 'spending plan' and that's a word that most people hate with a passion, but yet it will put money in pockets."

Miller said families should do two things: decided on how much they want to spend and how much for each person. "The main thing is just bite the bullet and do it," said Miller. While families should start budgeting in January, Miller said it's not too late to start budgeting for the holiday season. There are several website's families can use to budget their money, like https://www.mint.com/ or visit Miller's website at http://millerfinancialgj.com/

Miller said getting it done early will give those like Shamboin time to enjoy the holidays with their families. "This is the best everybody here, they all traveled for the holidays. You know, brings people together," said Shamboin.

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