GOSHEN — The encouragement for holiday spending is upon us and it is very easy for your spending to become out of control.

Credit cards have separated consumers from cash. Internet shopping services and others have separated us from our money. The opportunity to overspend is increased with payments happening with smartphones and this is one more degree of separation from paper money.

What this means, according to Purdue Extension Elkhart County, is that as a consumer you need to have a plan and work hard to know, feel and keep track of what you are spending. Even with deep holiday savings, spending can quickly become out of control without a plan.

To help you make the most of your holiday dollars, a “Holiday Spending” information packet is available for download on the Purdue Extension Elkhart County website. This packet includes a planning sheet, holiday checklist, printable gift certificates that don’t require money, and a template for tracking spending.

Visit the site at http://www.extension.purdue.edu/elkhart and click on the “Holiday Spending” article. Another resource for smartphones users are apps that help with holiday planning from making gift lists to tracking spending.

When it comes to controlling spending, willpower will only take you so far, extension educators say. Restrictive spending plans often fail so you have to have a realistic plan and tools that can help you have realistic holiday spending.

– Purdue Extension Elkhart County

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