Here's how to keep from overspending this holiday season

CHICAGO (WLS) -- While millions of Americans got most of their shopping out of the way on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, there are still some people who need to check items off their holiday shopping list.

Here are some tips to keep you from overspending.

First, establish a budget, said Kathy Roeser, a managing director and wealth advisor with Morgan Stanley in Chicago. Estimate how much you will need to cover all holiday expenses and then set a total spending limit. If you find you don't have enough money in your holiday budget to cover everything on the list, consider cutting back on some other discretionary expenses during the month, she said.

Roeser said it's best to take a proactive approach when it comes to holiday shopping. People who start shopping late are more likely to deviate from their holiday budget, as there is too little time to be meticulous and selective.

All your holiday expenses may seem to blur together, and, after a while, it can be rather difficult to know exactly how much you've spent. Roeser said tracking all holiday purchases in a log, and saving receipts, can be an effective mechanism for staying up-to-date and keeping expenses organized, while also ensuring you are sticking to your budget.

Be wary of store credit cards. Roeser cautions that many who sign up for store credit cards fail to realize they may end up paying more in interest expenses down the road if they let the balance linger. Store credit cards also tend to have high interest rates, which makes carrying debt costlier.

And finally, avoid impulse buys, even if it is a gift you think someone will love, don't buy it on the spot.

For more information, visit MorganStanley.com.
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