COLUMBIA (WACH) - Holiday shopping can be a fun time, but if you're not careful, it can also create a new financial burden with the new year arrives.
Haley Quade enjoys Christmas shopping. While she doesn't cram it all in at one time, she's already shopping in a way that can save money when the holidays arrive.
Quade says shopping throughout the year helps her maintain a budget.
"If my friend says they like something, I'll go ahead and buy it. Then, that way I don't feel like I'm spending all that money at once," said Quade.
Suzette Morganelli, a financial counselor at State Credit Union, says holiday shopping is easy as long as a budget is followed.
"Sometimes people just throw up their hands and say, 'What the Heck,' and go, 'Whatever, I'll suffer the consequences later.' Later comes in January," said Morganelli.
Morganelli recommends including food, travel and decorations in the budget.
"All too often, you know what happens, is people get way off target, and then they just keep going and going. Before you know it, January comes and you've got huge bills you're going to have to address," said Morganelli.
Quade says making a spread sheet specifying what to spend on each person, and talking with a friend about a budget is helpful.
Morganelli warns a sure way to blow a budget is by shopping for yourself at holiday sales.
"Stay focused on what you plan to do," said Morganelli.
According to Morganelli, it isn't always about the coolest gifts. Her family has been baking special treats for many years and those are the gifts people never forget.