1 – Make a shopping list and a budget – okay, it sounds really basic, but making your list and checking it twice is really the first step to avoiding overspending during the holidays. “Putting together a price list of the gifts and holiday items you intend to buy, including things like food, decorations, and shipping costs, is a great way to figure out what you can afford and staying on the budget you prepare,” says Etta Money, president of InCharge Debt Solutions.
2 – Compare prices – “It’s possible to save more than ten percent by simply checking prices at different stores, and seeing what is available online,” suggests Money. Of course, you’ll need to plan in advance and be sure to use secure websites when making your purchases.
3 – Use cash – it’s easier said than done, but if you can budget to only buy things you can afford with cash, you won’t be feeling the holiday blues in January.
4 – Shop in late December – if you can afford to do it, stores have great bargains after the holidays end and before New Year’s Day. “Look around during the last week of December and you’ll find some excellent deals, but be sure not to get caught in the ‘clearance sale’ trap where you might purchase some things you don’t really need or want just because the price is so low,” recommends Money.
5 – Consider holiday accounts – many banks and credit unions have “Christmas Club Accounts” and will automatically transfer money from your checking account each month to help you save for next year. It’s a relatively painless way to put some spending money together for December 2011!
For more some great information about the responsible use of credit, money management, or for free credit counseling, visit http://www.InCharge.org or call InCharge Debt Solutions at 1-888-360-9694.
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About InCharge® Debt Solutions
Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, InCharge Debt Solutions (IDS) provides professional credit counseling and personal money management education to consumers and is a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA). IDS is one of the unique nonprofit credit counseling organizations to be dually accredited by both ISO 9001-2008 Quality Standards and the Council on Accreditation (COA). Consumers can access InCharge Debt Solutions credit counseling services for free by calling 1-888-360-9694 or online at http://www.InCharge.org.