The Sun Group Houston Community Papers 10/31/07 - The Sun Group Houston Community Papers
Experts: Plan ahead for holiday spending by Valerie Clifton

You knew the holidays were coming, but once again you waited until the last minute to go shopping. But with a little forethought, some say the stress is avoidable.

Karen Hoxmeier plans in advance by making a budget, making a list of people to shop for and breaking it down into how much she wants to spend for each person. She then keeps track of what she bought for each person and most importantly, she shops year-round, allowing her to be more selective in her purchases.

"I plan far in advance because if you wait till the last minute, you overspend automatically," said Hoxmeier, whose website, receives more than 500,000 hits a day from readers seeking topnotch shopping advice. "You start feeling the time crunch and start throwing things in your basket without paying attention to how much they are and then you tend to overbuy."