An estimated 12 million people are still paying off debts they racked up buying holiday gifts last year. That’s among the more sobering findings from a new holiday survey conducted by Consumer Reports. The lingering debts may be one reason why nearly 60 percent of people plan to use a gift budget this year–a much higher number than last year.
You can download a simple gift budget form for free from my web site. There’s still time to get some value from a gift budget this year, but the real value comes in setting an annual gift budget at the beginning of a year and then automatically transferring one-twelfth of the total into a separate savings account each month. When it’s time to buy a gift, you just transfer the amount back to checking. That’s one of the best ways I know of for not going into debt over the holidays.