How to shop on a budget for the holidays

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) Whether it's online, or in person, it's a good bet a lot of money will be spent in the next few days, as the holiday shopping season officially begins.

The National Retail Federation, the nation's largest retail trade group, forecasts a 4.1 percent sales increase.

The important thing for individuals, is not to spend too much money buying for friends and loved ones.

The Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Mid-Ohio Valley says having a spending plan is the best way NOT to into shock-or major debt-when the credit card bills come in after the new year.

"It's a good idea to list everyone you have to shop for, and put a dollar amount beside that person, so you know exactly what you are going to spend," says Executive Director John Jackson. "Many people go so far as to put money in an envelope with each person's name on it. When the envelope is out of money, you're finished shopping for that person. But there are a lot of great deals the next couple of days. And if you have a plan and stick to it, it can go pretty well."

Jackson says, aside from saving money ahead of time for the holidays, using plastic is actually a good way to manage spending.

That's because it helps you keep a record of purchases, so you'll know what you owe later on.