From Black Friday to Christmas, staying within budget is a challenge.
While more than half of consumers start out with the best intentions, they don't all stick to it, according to the recent Merry Money Holiday Spending survey by TD Bank.
Nearly 8 in 10 shoppers, or 78 percent, overspend on holiday purchases — with the average shopper overspending by $215.
Too often it's because they've splurged on the perfect holiday gift, even if it's above their price limit, the survey found. Small impulse purchases like stocking stuffers and buying gifts for themselves are also to blame, not to mention all of the incidentals like wrapping paper and gift cards.
About 43 percent of Americans feel pressure to spend more than they can afford over the holidays, down slightly from last year, according to a separate report from SunTrust Banks. For parents of young children, the pressure is even greater, SunTrust said.
"Give yourself a little wiggle room during the season," said Lauren Greutman, a savings expert and founder of the personal finance site LaurenGreutman.com. "If you overspend in one area, look for an opportunity to shave off expenses in another."
Greutman recommends shopping online with coupon codes and using a debit card as well as a banking or budgeting app on your phone to stay in line.