Tips for holiday budget planning

GRAND CHUTE, Wis. Having a list and checking it twice isn't just for Santa. According to financial experts everyone should be doing it this time of year. Every January there's a rise in people applying for debt consolidation, some because of overspending during the holidays.

For mother of two, Kara Hoelzel, debt consolidation is all too familiar, but this year she's not procrastinating.

"In the past we didn't do that and overspent, so this year by sticking to that strict budget and making sure we're looking for places that have the best price it's a lot less stressful and we know that we're keeping our spending in check,” said Hoelzel.

"I would recommend getting out there making a list of all the people you're buying for, how much you're looking to spend on each one of those people," said Ryan Huebner, Branch Manager at Unison Credit Union in Grand Chute.

Experts at Unison Credit Union say the best way to save is to start early.

"If you have funds saved up you can either use those funds to pay cash for as much as you can or if you choose to use a card with maybe points or a reward system or for a discount, you then have those funds available to pay off that credit card balance right away,” said Huebner.

Huebner says many banks and credit unions offer a holiday savings account, where patrons can deposit a little bit at a time from each paycheck. For example if people deposited $25.00 per bi-weekly paycheck into holiday savings, at the end of the year, they’ll have more than $600.00 saved.

Hoelzel says from now on holiday budgeting is something she will do every year.

“For other moms I highly recommend just having that conversation with your significant other or taking the time to sit down and just plan everything out it's one less thing you have to be stressed about during the holidays,” said Hoelzel.