Financial tips ahead of holiday season

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The holiday season brings plenty of financial related stress. Consumers are expected to spend more than this year than last year but experts say there's a way to spread holiday cheer without breaking the bank.

A recent survey showed people will spend an average of $1,189 on holiday gifts; that's 6% more than last year.

Experts advise consumers to be realistic; evaluate finances to see what you can afford.

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"Go old school with this write it down on a piece of paper who you need to buy gifts for how much you would like to spend for each individual," Lonny Powell from Alliance Retirement Solutions said. "This will keep you on track and on pace."

Powell suggests while keeping within budget, don't forget about the cost of shipping fees, wrapping paper, and cards. Hosting holiday events can be costly too.

Another tip from Powell, don't treat yourself. Seventy percent shoppers bought gifts for themselves while holiday shopping in 2016.

Powell recommends cashing in your rewards.

"I'm not a fan of credit cards, full disclaimer," Powell said. "If you do have those accounts available, airline miles or same as cash points, go ahead cash those in it's the perfect time of year to do that. You can use some of these items as gifts for family members or friends."

Free shipping can also save big bucks. December 15 is Free Shipping Day.  Some stores also offer free shipping, as long as you pick it up at the store.

For more information on how to budget better, click here.

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