DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) - As the clock ticks closer to Christmas, many people are looking at their wallets wondering how to pay for everything this holiday season.
Experts said step one is for consumers to budget their expenses.
Many people plan for gifts, but forget to account for things like meals, travel, lodging and charitable giving.
Since there's not a lot of time before Christmas to put cash back, picking up a second job is suggested. WAND News spoke with Millikin University Assistant Professor of Finance, Chris Marquette, about these opportunities.
"You know, drive Uber or Lyft. You can easily rent out a vacation home you have through VRBO. You know, rent out a spare room you have through AirBNB, it's an excellent way to gain some extra income,” he shared.
Many retailers are also hiring seasonal employees to handle the holiday rush. The pros said other strategies to save money include using reward points that might expire at the end of the year and to avoid impulse shopping. Marquette said shopping online can help with that.
Most holiday shoppers who overspend blow their budget by about $300.
Marquette said when making a budget, follow the "SMART” budget method. It stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. As shoppers are running out of time to put back a lot of money for gifts, Marquette said to shift focus to more achievable presents.
"Concentrate more on emotional gifts as opposed to material gifts. Some gifts, a craft that you made or spending time with someone over coffee or something instead of buying them a gift," Marquette explained.
Marquette also suggests holding off on holiday spending until after Thanksgiving. Consumers have a better chance of spending less if the shopping window is smaller.