MONEY holiday shopping

MONEY Experts Chat: Smart Holiday Shopping

Have you started your holiday shopping? If you’re like most people, the answer is “No.” Good. That means you still have time to plan your budget carefully, unearth the best deals, and keep yourself out of financial hot water.

Holidays and overspending go hand in hand. According to a recent report by the credit bureau TransUnion, the typical consumer charges nearly 40% more on credit cards in December than he or she does the other 11 months of the year. And that can lead to a debt hangover that takes months to recover from. Don’t let that happen to you.

Join MONEY magazine and personal finance website LearnVest on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 4 p.m. eastern time (1 p.m. pacific) to discuss smart holiday spending. Our experts will answer your questions about how to budget and save money during the holidays — and still get to enjoy the season.

The Experts:

  • Alexa von Tobel is the founder and CEO of LearnVest.com (@LearnVest), a leading personal finance website, and the author of the upcoming book Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money.
  • Diane Harris (@dianeharris) is the executive editor of MONEY. She frequently edits family money stories and has written extensively about holiday spending and kids.
  • Kristen Bellstrom () is a senior editor at MONEY, where she edits travel, technology, real estate, and spending stories.

The Topics:

During the hour-long discussion, our experts can weigh in on:

  1. Holiday Budgeting: How to figure out how much you can afford to spend, stick to that budget for the entire season, and avoid the credit card debt trap.
  2. Keeping a Lid on the Cost of Gifts: Tricks to find savings, the ideal times and places to shop, and the best ways to pay.
  3. Talking to Your Children: How do you set reasonable expectations for how much you’ll spend? And how do you talk to your family about keeping down the costs of gifts?
  4. Making the Season More Meaningful: What you can do to make the holidays feel less commercial.
  5. Holiday Travel Tips: Strategies to limit travel costs during this busy time.
  6. After the Holidays: What’s the etiquette on returns? Have you factored in the hidden costs?

How to Join:

  • Just hop onto Twitter on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 4pm EST/1 pm PST
  • Follow @MONEY, where we will be moderating the chat and sharing your great responses
  • Ask a question by including the hashtag #HolidayChat
  • Watch it all unfold by searching #HolidayChat on Twitter or TweetChat

We look forward to hearing from you via the #HolidayChat hashtag on Thursday!

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