2005-12-16 / Community

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.

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, report it right away.

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.

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