American Consumer Credit Counseling Announces Holiday Budget Checklist as Countdown to Christmas Begins

National non-profit offers holiday budget guide for the December shopping rush.

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Even though two of the most popular shopping days have passed, there is still time to be a budget conscious shopper and avoid financial pitfalls that often come during the season of giving.

(PRWEB) December 11, 2012

As the holidays quickly approach, retailers and consumers prepare for the shopping blitz that began with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. National non-profit American Consumer Credit Counseling announces a holiday budget guide that outlines helpful tips for budget conscious consumers who are still checking off their shopping list.

“The best way to prepare for holiday shopping is to try to spread out holiday purchases throughout the year to make the holiday season less stressful,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Even though two of the most popular shopping days have passed, there is still time to be a budget conscious shopper and avoid financial pitfalls that often come during the season of giving.”

For those consumers who were unable to participate in this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday there is still a way to shop smart. Through its holiday budget worksheet ACCC offers some helpful hints on how to build and stick to a holiday budget:

1. Prepare a list of who you will purchase gifts for and don’t forget non-family members, friends, teachers, etc.

2. Brainstorm a few items for each person on your list. The more options you have, the more likely you are to find a good deal or sale on one of the items.

3. Star or circle the three most expensive items you must purchase and allocate some extra time to search advertisements, online and in stores for the best deals.

4. Before walking into the store, make a budget. Determine the total amount you want to spend for everyone this holiday season and allocate a specific amount of money for each person on your list. Now you’re ready…

5. Make sure to carry your list with you at all times. You never know when you might stumble upon a great deal for something on your list. Always keep receipts with you and be sure to check online for lower prices that the stores will match.

Those who were able to shop on Cyber Monday this year helped participate in the biggest online shopping day ever. According to the IBM Digital Analytics, Cyber Monday spending increased by 30.3 percent from 2011 and reports from comScores estimate that consumers spent $1.5 billion, a record high for the online shopping day. On the other hand, Black Friday sales declined by 1.8 percent to $11.2 billion in sales, despite the fact that foot traffic increased in stores. This could be due to consumers who head to stores to check out products, but ultimately make their purchases online to get the best prices.

“Each year Cyber Monday continues to grow in popularity and Monday’s shopping was just a preview of the overall 2012 online holiday spending,” said Trumble. “We continue to remind consumers of the advantages of shopping online and the deals they can receive through emails from their favorite retailers or by visiting couponing sites like coupons.com.”

For consumers who may want more financial guidance this year, American Consumer Credit Counseling offers financial resources and education that help consumers overcome financial strains and develop good spending habits to maintain a debt free future. ACCC encourages consumers to utilize the organization’s holiday budget planner as they prepare for the shopping season to help better manage purchases and stay on track.

ACCC is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:

     • For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
     • For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
     • For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
     • For more information on financial education workshops in New England, call 800-769-3571 x1980
     • Visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial health through education, counseling, and debt management. ACCC provides individuals with practical solutions for solving financial problems and recognizes that consumers’ financial difficulties are often not the result of poor spending habits, but more frequently from extenuating circumstances beyond their control. As one of the nation’s leading providers of financial education and credit counseling services, ACCC works with consumers to help them with the best plan of action to reduce their debt and regain financial stability. ACCC is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and holds an A+ rating. It is also a member of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies. For more information or to access free financial education resources log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com. Follow ACCC on twitter @TalkCentsBlog.


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