Holiday debt frenzy

Tuesday, December 4th 2007, 10:42 am
By: News 9

By Amy McRee, NEWS 9

Christmas is just around the corner, and needless to say the crunch to get all those gifts is on. But before you pull out the plastic NEWS 9 anchor Amy McRee has some ideas to help with your holiday spending so you live your life, your way.

NEWS 9 did some research on-line and found the average consumer will spend roughly $1,000 on holiday gifts, but you have to be careful not to let the amount you spend put you in a bind on down the road.

A lot of holiday shopping will start on-line, which is exactly where you'll find a wealth of information on holiday spending, and how to avoid getting in trouble. supplied a list of 10-helpful tips.

  • First, Santa does it and so should you, make a list. Come up with a gift giving list of who you want to buy for and how much you want to spend.
  • Second, avoid frenzy spending, picking up Christmas bargains because they're deals, not really something you need from your list.
  • Third, do not be your own Santa. When shopping for holiday gifts do not buy for yourself. Instead put it on your wish list for your loved ones to buy you, or wait until after the holiday and buy it on sale.
  • Number four, know your limits. Overusing your credit cards can drop your credit score, so you should try to keep your balances below 35% of your total credit line.
  • Fifth, use cash! Withdraw the amount of money you need for a day of holiday shopping and spend only that money instead of using credit cards.
  • Number six, plan to pay off your credit cards. Using your credit card for holiday shopping is fine, but you should make sure you have a plan for paying off your holiday spending in the weeks after the holiday.
  • Seventh, focus on the frugal. Some of the best gifts can cost you hardly anything, a jar of apple cider or cocoa or even popcorn garland.
  • Eighth, don't go deeper into debt. If you are already struggling with debt issues do not use your credit cards to buy holiday gifts. It will only make your debt that much worse.
  • Number nine, avoid retail credit card offers. A lot of times people will get a new card and say they'll just pay it off at the first of the year that ends up creating more debt keeping you from living Your Life, Your Way. And opening a new credit card account, with Macy's or Target for example, could actually damage your credit score.
  • And number 10; watch out for identity theft Grinches. Identity thieves love the holidays! Many consumers don't keep a close eye on their credit and personal information during the holiday, leaving the window open for identity thieves. To guard against holiday identity theft shred your receipts, catalogs and review your credit card statements closely.