Debt Advice from Consolidated Credit Counseling Services... Nonprofit Advises -- Know Your Shopping Style and Avoid Holiday Debt

Share Article

December debt is a bad way to end the year and we know our stress will be worse in January when we must face the stack of bills that we can't pay off. Get advice customized for your shopping syle and save money this holiday season.

I know I have 5 gifts to buy. I go to one store and buy them as quickly as possible.

According to Consolidated Credit Counseling Services 7th Annual Holiday Survey of a 1,000 consumer nationwide, 46 percent say they are still paying off debts from past Christmases.

"My debt advice for consumers is to start holiday shopping with a strategy or they will likely end up adding to their debt load," says Howard Dvorkin, founder of Consolidated Credit and author of Credit Hell: How to Dig Out of Debt.

Each year the International Mass Retail Association asks consumers what they plan to spend on holiday purchases. However, most years' IMRA reports consumers spend about 30 percent more than they planned accumulating debt. To determine your budget, talk with family members and decide the total amount of money you have to spend for gifts. Remember if you decide to use credit, only borrow what you can repay within sixty to ninety days.

Consolidated Credit experts offer the following list of common shopping styles and tips to stop overspending.

Debt Advice for Impulse shoppers

"I'm not a list maker. When I find a gift, I buy it."

  •     Spend a few minutes thinking about the gift before you buy it and ask yourself these questions. Will the person enjoy, use and appreciate the gift? Could I find this gift or a comparable gift for less money somewhere else?
  •     Shop with cash and when you have spent all the money, go home.
  •     Keep track of the presents you have already purchased.

Debt Advice for Inspirational shoppers

"I go out to the stores and look around to decide what to buy persons on my gift list."

  •     Leave your money and credit cards at home. Go shopping and when inspiration hits, write down the gift, where you found it and the price. When you have shopped for everyone on your list, add up the total.
  •     Compare your shopping total with your gift budget. If they do not match, you will need to make adjustments. Try to find the item on sale, look for a similar item that is less expensive or give a combination gift to any couples on your list.
  •     When you go back to purchase your gifts, buy only those gifts on your list.

Debt Advice for Non shoppers

"I know I have 5 gifts to buy. I go to one store and buy them as quickly as possible."

  •     Consider shopping on the Internet. The Net will allow you to shop quickly from several different merchants, which could save you money.
  •     Give gift certificates and everyone wins. There is no shopping involved for you, the recipient can choose their own gift and you will not overspend.

Debt Advice for Last minute shoppers

"The end of December creeps up on me and I find myself in the stores on Christmas Eve."

  •     Do not panic. Time is short, but you want to avoid buying any gift, particularly one that would be more money than you would normally spend, just so you have a gift to give. Start by mapping out a plan before you leave home. List each person for whom you will buy a gift, what gift you would like to buy for that person and which stores you will need to shop.
  •     Enlist help. Get one of your "I finished my shopping before Halloween" friends to come shopping with you and send them off to pick up some of the gifts on your list.
  •     Give a gift IOU and shop the after Christmas sales. For a change, it is sometimes fun to receive a gift after the holiday hustle and bustle.

Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. assists families throughout the United States in ending financial hardships through education and professional counseling. Consolidated is a 501 (C) (3) Not-for-Profit organization. Since its incorporation in 1993 they have provided educational assistance and budget planning throughout the United States. Consolidated is ISO 9001 registered and accepted worldwide. For more information go to

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print