NFCC™ Provides Consumers with Checklist to Determine if They’re Being Financially Naughty or Nice This Holiday Season

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To help consumers remain financially level-headed as they enter the final two weeks of holiday shopping, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® created the Financially Naughty or Nice Checklist.

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Everyone wants to land on the nice side of Santa’s ledger, but what if Santa made his decision based on a person’s holiday spending habits and only those who acted financially responsible were rewarded?

To help consumers remain financially level-headed as they enter the final two weeks of holiday shopping, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® created the Financially Naughty or Nice Checklist.

“Everyone wants to land on the nice side of Santa’s ledger, but what if Santa made his decision based on a person’s holiday spending habits and only those who acted financially responsible were rewarded? Consumers need to remember that Santa only comes around once per year, but the impact of how they managed their credit during the holidays remains with them long after the December festivities have ended. The positive effects of eleven months of responsible money management can be significantly damaged by one month of over-spending,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC.

The NFCC encourages shoppers to use the following checklist to determine if their financial habits would put them on Santa’s naughty or nice list. The more questions to which a person answers “yes,” the closer they are to being included in the nice category.

  • I have reviewed current living expenses and debt obligations to determine how much money is available for holiday spending.
  • I have a gift list and am committed to adhering to it.
  • I have an overall holiday budget which includes gifts, decorations, travel and entertaining.
  • I am open to creative ways to spend less, such as giving a family gift instead of individual gifts, or when entertaining, having guests bring a dish instead of providing the entire meal.
  • I will take the time to utilize online sites and apps to help me find the best prices before I begin shopping.
  • To make sure my gift money is not wasted, I will ask a store what their return policy is before making a purchase, and will include a gift receipt when appropriate.
  • I will not open new accounts simply to earn a discount, but will first evaluate if that is the proper long-term decision for my situation.
  • I will protect myself from loss or theft by not carrying large amounts of cash, and will be aware of potential identity theft when using an ATM machine.
  • If I charge purchases, I commit to paying off the debt in full by the end of March 2015, and am willing to take on a second job or cut spending in order make this happen.
  • I am dedicated to paying cash for holiday expenses next year, and am tracking all holiday-related expenses in order to know how much to save toward that goal.

“Poor spending decisions during the holidays can compromise a person’s credit report, score and financial future. Consumers would be wise to keep that thought front of mind as they race toward the shopping finish line,” continued Cunningham.

If your financial habits may result in Santa leaving a lump of coal in your stocking, it might be time for an appointment with an NFCC Certified Consumer Credit Counselor. To locate the NFCC agency closest to you, dial (800) 388-2227, or go online to http://www.NFCC.org.

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The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest serving national nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services. NFCC members annually help millions of consumers through more than 600 community-based offices nationwide. For free and affordable confidential advice through a reputable NFCC member, call (800) 388-2227, (en Español (800) 682-9832) or visit http://www.nfcc.org. Visit us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NFCCDebtAdvice, on Twitter: twitter.com/NFCCDebtAdvice, on YouTube: http://www.YouTube.com/NFCC09 , on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/nfccdebtadvice/
and our blog: http://financialeducation.nfcc.org/.

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Gail Cunningham
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