By Lauren Pastrana

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — We’re all probably doing a bit more spending this month courtesy of the holidays.

Between gift-giving, events and travel, your bank account may be thinking “Bah humbug!”

So today’s “Lauren’s List” is breaking down some of the common money mistakes we all make around this time of year and how to fix them so you’re not feeling like the Grinch come January.

  1. Too Much Credit: The offers are tempting. You’re about to check out of a store when the person behind the register says “You can save 15% on today’s purchase if you open a credit card with us.” Wow, 15 percent! Sounds like a great idea. But doing that at every store that offers it is a recipe for disaster. Store cards tend to have high interest rates, plus, keying your social security number in to a bunch of pin pads could put you at risk of identity theft. If you do sign up for a card, experts say it’s best to do it from the safety of your own home.
  1. Not Maxing Out: No, not maxing out credit cards. That would be bad. But it’s also pretty bad if you fail to max out contributions to your retirement accounts. Experts say the end of the year is the best time to top off those 401Ks or IRAs. Those contributions, which are tax-deductible, will lower your current taxes as well as be invested to grow over time for your retirement. If you get an end-of-year or holiday bonus, it’s a good idea to invest that if you can.
  1. Eating Out: I’m so guilty of this. I tend to forget how to use the kitchen during the last two weeks of December. With so many festivities, we eat out a lot, but every restaurant visit or delivery order adds up. Go ahead and get a head start on your 2019 resolutions and try making healthier, more affordable food at home starting now!
  1. Losing Your List: Without my holiday lists, I’d be lost. So losing mine- deleting it in my case as it’s on my phone- would lead to overbuying on my part. When you’re impulse buying at the last minute and without a clear cut plan or list, you tend to spend more because you’re just frantic to get it done. Make your list and check it twice. Actually, check it multiple times, to make sure you’re not overspending this season.

Do you make any of these money mistakes during the holidays?

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter.

If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List”, send it to

Lauren Pastrana


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