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Visa Inc.: Plan Your Spending; Avoid 'Panic Shopping'

Visa offers holiday budget calculator to assist procrastinators

Foster City – November 06, 2013 – It's the time of year for gift-giving, entertaining, holiday parties, and for many, overspending and financial stress. To that end, Visa would like to offer consumers some tips to help ensure that holiday cheer doesn't turn into a holiday hangover. This year, enjoy the season without letting holiday spending get the better of you; the tips and tools below will help. Setting a realistic holiday budget and sticking to it is the first step to enjoying a more affordable and less stressful season. Here are a few ways to handle gift-giving and celebrations without breaking the bank:

  1. Set Your Budget
    The best place to start making a holiday budget is to look at your spending during last year's holiday season. In what areas did you spend more than planned? Next, make a list of the holiday purchases and events you plan to spend money on this year. Consider all of your major spending categories – gifts, entertaining, meals, and travel – then estimate how much you can afford to spend in each category. Have a "micro budget" – a specific spending limit – for each person on your gift list. Many financial planners recommend spending no more than 1.5 percent of annual income on holiday expenses.

    Knowing your spending goals long beforehand will help you stay on track financially as the season heats up. This easy-to-use Holiday Budget Calculator can help.

  2. Get Creative
    One great way to save money and wow friends and family is to get creative. Store-bought gifts are great, but homemade gifts are often more meaningful, and most recipients truly appreciate your time and effort. Ideas for creative gift projects are plentiful online. Sites like this one should give you a few ideas to start with. Consider giving an experience that can be redeemed after Christmas, like a home cooked gourmet meal.

    If you like the idea of a personal touch and affordability but don't have the time or skill to make gifts yourself, the ultimate marketplace for homemade gifts is Etsy, where you can find crafty items from over 200,000 sellers.

  3. Join Together
    Instead of excessively spending on each other this year, join together with family members to help those who may be less fortunate. Online opportunities are easy to find, and there are several in this article, "Helping others when money is tight." Other opportunities for online giving can be found at the websites for Oxfam International and ACCION.

  4. Travel Wisely
    If you plan on traveling, take some time to determine how much it will cost you with our Holiday Travel Planner and don't forget these holiday travel planning tips.

  5. Entertain for Less
    Holidays are a wonderful time to entertain, but a little planning and budgeting can help you avoid financial headaches. Let our Holiday Entertainment Planner help you ensure a fun event that won't tax you financially. Also check out these holiday entertainment tips to help you keep your holiday budget in shape.

About Visa Inc.
Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable electronic payments. We operate one of the world's most advanced processing networks-VisaNet-that is capable of handling more than 24,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and assured payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Hugh Norton (703) 683-5004, ext. 133,

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