Money Savvy Holiday Shopping Tips

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The holiday shopping season is upon us and this usually means gifts for loved ones and bills for you early New Year. CreditGUARD of America, Inc., a non-profit credit counseling company has first hand experience in dealing with holiday spending blues and therefore offers the following 5 steps to curb your overspending habits.

The holiday shopping season is upon us and this usually means gifts for loved ones and bills for you early New Year. More than 20 % of our country's annual retail spending occurs between Thanksgiving and Christmas and is hence the most critical time for your finances. CreditGUARD of America, Inc., a non-profit credit counseling company has first hand experience in dealing with holiday spending blues and therefore offers the following 5 steps to curb your overspending habits.

Time to Reflect

Buying gifts this year without a holiday budget is simply asking for trouble. If you have used a holiday budget in the past, we recommend that you use that budget as a guideline for this year. After you decide on your budget, make a list of the people and gifts that you would like to give them. This will protect you from buying impulse gifts and stretching your budget.

Say No to Temptations

Retail stores make most of their sales through impulse purchases. As a result, stores are very likely to display a variation of 'Sale' tagged items that you probably cannot pass by. Remember, buying things out of the whim will add further strain to your budget and will lead to buyer remorse in the New Year. So, say no to temptation and stick with your list.

Decline Store Credit Cards

"Sir, would you like to apply for our store credit card and save an additional 15% on today's purchases?" You will probably hear this statement in every major retail store this season. Saving an additional 15 % off your purchases seems pretty money savvy at that moment, but at what costs? Retailers offer these promotional store credit cards hoping that you will buy more items at a discounted price. You figure, since you are savings 15 % on purchases, so why not pick up that leather jacket? The result, you end up spending more money at the store than you initially intended.

Store credit cards typically charge 20% or more in interest charges. So, if you are one of the millions of American's who are unable to pay off their credit card balances in full each month, you will probably end up paying more for that leather jacket than the original ticketed price.

Search for the Best Deals

Competition between retail stores could mean big savings for you if you know where to look. With so many retail stores fighting for your business, it is fairly easy to find a good deal nowadays. When purchasing from a sale, remember to save your receipt. Many merchants will credit you with the difference in price if you find the same item for a lesser price from a competitor.

Online comparison shopping is the new wave of the future with so many innovative websites such as, http://www.bizrate.com and http://www.pricegrabber.com offering customers the latest reviews and prices on everything from books to the newest gadgets.

Don't Buy Extended Warranties

In most cases, extended warranties yield no benefit for the consumer other than a peace of mind. According to a recent survey, fewer than 20% of products covered by extended warranties are ever brought in for repair. Floor salesmen usually make a higher commission when they sell extended warranties to consumers, so expect a thorough sales pitch when you decide to buy that new microwave oven.

CreditGUARD of America is a non-profit credit counseling agency that assists consumers through debt counseling and financial education. Please visit our web site at http://www.creditguard.org or call 1-800-867-0406 for a free consultation with a certified credit counselor.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this press release, please email Nemal Perera.

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NEMAL PERERA
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