Tips for saving money this holiday season

WASHINGTON – Now is the time of year that shoppers are bombarded by all those ads telling them to buy and spend more.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a psychology professor at University of Massachusetts at Amherst, says stores pray on shoppers the minute they walk through the door.

She says consumers will have a successful shopping season if they can control their spending.

“It’s really talking to yourself and calming yourself inside and not letting your brain’s reward center get out of control,” she says.

Last year, 17 percent of holiday shoppers with incomes more than $75,000 surpassed the budget they had in mind for holiday presents, according to a survey by

CNN Money offers some tips for shoppers hoping to stay within their budget:

  • Have family members draw names for gifts instead of buying presents for everyone.
  • Ask family members to donate to a shared cause.
  • Offer a coupon for a free service like baby sitting or chopping firewood for a family member.
  • Before hitting the mall, estimate the cost of your child’s education. The thought of future expenses will help prevent you from splurging.
  • Only pay with cash. You’ll spend less than if you pay with a credit card.

WTOP’s Del Walters contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

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