Consumer Watch: Holiday shopping tips

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on November 12, 2013 at 6:05 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)—Many Americans will not begin the holiday season with a clean financial slate.

If credit card debt is already mounting, leave the plastic alone.

“Maybe you can’t do what you really want to do during the holidays, in terms of everything you want to give your kids or your friends, but if you stick with cash your situation at least won’t get any worse,” said credit card expert, Beverly Harzog.

Sticking to cash on hand requires a more disciplined approach and a budget.

In addition to giving gifts to family and friends, factor in others that are often overlooked, such as babysitters and hairdressers.

Harzog said shoppers need to be honest about their budget and to not rely on money like a holiday bonus that may not materialize.

“Stick with what you know you have in your accounts at the moment, your current cash flow and plan your budget around that.  That way, you wont have any unpleasant surprises.  The last thing you want is to be in the debt when 2014 rolls around,” Harzog said.

If a large purchase isgoing on a credit card, make a smart choice and use a rewards card that will earn points, miles or cash back.  Resist being tempted by those deals that promise instant savings by opening a store credit card.  They tend to have higher interest rates, meaning you may still be paying for theis year’s gifts, next year.

If you have a consumer issue you would like us to look into, send an email to consumerwatch@whas11.com.
 

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