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Remember To Keep Your Holiday Shopping Spree Under Control

Published 11/21/07 (Modified 3/9/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

The holiday season is a time for good memories and cheer. But it's also a time when people are looser with their wallets, more readily open to the idea of spending more money than usual on presents for family, friends, and loved ones. It's easy to take out the ole credit card, swipe it through and not worry about it until later. But that later time will ultimately arrive in less than a month. When you finally open up your next bill or when you log into your online account to check your statement balance, prepare to be stunned. Somebody's going to have to pay all that back to the credit company and I'm betting it's going to be you.

Don't Let Holiday Shopping Hype Force You To Make Bad Decisions

Just because it's the holiday shopping season doesn't mean you have to forget all the frugal living common sense you acquired throughout the year. Don't throw all that out of the window. Christmas and the other holidays are still a month away. You still have ample time to plan ahead to make sure you are making the most efficient use of your shopping budget. Don't panic and start hitting the department stores without doing your research first to make sure you are using all of the available coupons and discounts out there.

Here Are A Few Of My Thoughts and Common-Sensical Tips Regarding Holiday Shopping

  1. Personally, I prefer to do the bulk of my shopping online. By browsing online, I can use shopping portals that offer cash back and make better use of online only discount coupons. Plus, I don't have to waste time driving from store to store, dodging shopping carts and bumping elbows with other hectic shoppers. Online auction sites like eBay also tend to offer the best deals. Right now I'm trying to buy a women's authentic North Face fleece as a present and eBay is where I'll be getting it! You might have to do some extra inquiring and background checking to verify product authenticity though.
  2. If you do plan to hit the brick and mortar stores, make a list of who you are shopping for and what you need to buy. Stay on target and don't stray too far from your budget and list, or else you'll end up severely over-shopping.
  3. Always keep that receipt! Despite my words of advice, I'm betting everyone is still going to over-shop. You are going to need that receipt to return those items.
  4. Whatever you do, stay away from registering for department store credit cards. Applying for them may save you money for one day and allow you to take advantage of one time promotional discounts, but it's not worth it. Interest and fees tend to be higher than that of other credit cards and the application itself with ding your credit report.
  5. Remember to make your purchases using reward credit cards. That way you'll be able to earn cash back and reward points for your expensive purchases. Credit cards offer a lot of usage benefits, but they are not for everyone. If you have difficulty handling the responsibility of using credit, perhaps you should just stick with cash for now.
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