5 Tips for Sensible Holiday Shoppers

Every year, Americans spend many months saving money for the holidays. From Christmas trees to holiday parties, and the countless number of gifts, it is easy to lose track of spending and unknowingly subject yourself to years’ worth of overwhelming credit card bills.

Online Shopping Tips

Online Shopping Tips

This year, before you head out to the malls consider these 5 tips for sensible holiday shoppers:

  1. Use Cash Whenever Possible – Carrying cash allows you to track exactly how much money you have, and how much you’ve spent. Using cash also serves as a precautionary measure for potential overspending, since you can’t spend more than you have in your purse or wallet. While using credit can be useful, and is necessary in certain situations, the less you use it the better chance you have for staying out of debt.
  2. Ask Questions – Companies are all trying to win your business and will run a wide variety of advertising campaigns and promotions to try and grab your attention. If you are uncertain as to the price of an item or a sale item in a flyer, be sure to ask a store employee. Before you pay a service fee for your gift card or disregard that mail-in rebate, find out all the facts about the cost of your purchase.
  3. Build a Holiday Budget – Household budgets help us organize our financial lives on a weekly basis, and the same process can help guide us through holiday spending just as easily. Visit www.consumercredit.com to download a free Holiday Budget Worksheet, and plan out exactly what you can afford to spend on gifts, decorations and holiday parties.
  4. Read the Newspaper and Circulars – Many popular gifts go on sale to during the holiday season. If you are on a holiday budget, it’s a good idea to look through the newspaper each week to begin comparison-shopping. Although the item you want may be on sale at one store, its competitor might just be charging $5 dollars less and that is $5 you can use to buy Christmas cards instead.
  5. Utilize Free Services – The holiday season is intended to be a time for giving, and many stores and shopping malls will offer you free gifts and services in exchange for your patronage. From free gift wrapping to $10 gift cards, these store perks can save you money in the long run, so take advantage as often as you can.

Tom Palange, consumercredit.com