How to budget for the holidays

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- It is estimated the average American will spend $757 on holiday shopping this year, about $35 more than last year, and 62 percent of people said they plan to buy gifts with their credit card.

Becky Frost with Experian Consumer Services shared some budgeting tips for the holiday season:

1. Set a realistic budget for holiday shopping and stick to it.
   
2. Make a list ahead of time with a set budget for each gift, will help you avoid overspending.
   
3. Keep your focus on giving. It can be tempting to pick up unplanned and unbudgeted items for yourself while shopping for others.
   
4. Practice smart shopping while online. It is often easier to overspend online, too, when you're more likely to use a credit card to make purchases.
   
5. Minimize wallet contents by taking out unnecessary items like extra credit cards or a checkbook. Carrying these items can also increase your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft in the event that the wallet is lost or stolen. Remember to check credit reports and statements to watch for signs of fraud.