Schenk gives CNBC viewers holiday spending tips

December 1, 2014

NEW YORK (12/2/14)--Just a week after the Credit Union National Association and the Consumer Federation of America released their annual holiday spending survey, CNBC tapped one of CUNA's economic experts for holiday budget tips.

Click to view larger imageOn Monday's "Closing Bell," CUNA Vice President of Economics and Statistics Mike Schenk offers holiday spending tips taken from the annual holiday spending survey from CUNA and the Consumer Federation of America.

Mike Schenk, CUNA vice president of economics and statistics, appeared Monday on CNBC's "Closing Bell" with personal finance expert Chris Hogan.

Schenk said the first and foremost holiday tip each year is to set a budget and stick to it.

It's not just for the gifts--it's for all of the other things like having a party, buying clothing and decorating your home. "You better include that" in your budget, he advised.

Secondly, shop early and research your purchases, he said.

Third, if consumers do increase their credit card debt over the holiday, it's OK as long as they pay it off as soon as possible.

Schenk said the data that CUNA tracks from its nearly 6,600 member credit unions shows that on an annualized basis credit card balances increase by roughly 24% in December.

Credit union members typically pay down roughly half of those increased balances in January, and another 40% in February. It's basically paid off by March, he noted.

Finally, start thinking about next year this year. The holidays come every year at the same time, he said, and for some reason people don't put money aside.

"It's an easy thing to do--go to your credit union and ask them to open a holiday account for you," Schenk said.  "Start putting small amounts aside, and you'll be in much better shape next year."