Stress Free Holiday Shopping Tips
According to a November Gallup Poll, consumers are expected to spend an average of $763 on gifts this holiday season, an increase of 4.5% from November 2004. GreenPath Debt Solutions has compiled some money management tips to keep the holiday season happy and free of debt stress.
• Make a list and create a budget : Write down household and personal expenses for November and December. For each month, subtract the total amount of expenses from your monthly take-home pay. Your shopping list should include gifts and miscellaneous holiday expenses like decorations, meals and gift-wrapping.
• Consider creative gift giving: When it comes to gifts, some people still believe it’s the thought that counts. Consider gifts that have a personal touch, such as handmade or homemade gifts.
• Look for shopping deals: Check out retail sales and special discounts in circulars, newspapers and deals online. Consider purchasing holiday decorations in bulk and splitting the costs with friends and family.
• Pay with cash when possible, and spend wisely: Leave the checkbook and credit cards at home to avoid temptations for unplanned and unnecessary purchases. If using credit is a must, limit purchases to one card.
• Tis the season to be jolly, not vulnerable: An increase in the use of credit cards can also lead to an increase of identity theft. Avoid becoming a victim: avoid exposing credit cards, social security numbers and other personal info to others when shopping. If a credit card is lost or stolen, report it right away to the credit card company.
• Avoid last minute shopping: Shopping under stress can lead to more spending. Plan your shopping trips in advance and shop as early as possible before the December holidays, and stick to your list.
• Plan ahead and start saving for next year: Have some money transferred from your checking to savings account at the beginning of 2006. Consider joining a Christmas club account through your credit union or local bank to have money transferred directly from your paycheck.
For more information and money solutions, visit www.greenpath.com .