American Consumer Credit Counseling Helps Consumers Avoid Last Minute Holiday Spending Mistakes

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The national financial education non-profit offers tips to avoid over-spending this Holiday season.

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With the holiday season seemingly becoming shorter each year, it is easy for consumers to become overwhelmed and fall into spending traps, especially when last-minute shopping.

The holiday season is well underway as consumers flock to malls and shops in search of the perfect gifts for loved ones. While it’s a time of great happiness and cheer, the risk of over spending could leave you feeling glum as you ring in the New Year. In an effort to spare the average American shopper from a holiday spending hangover, American Consumer Credit Counseling has developed a list of common money mistakes consumers make and how to avoid them.

“With the holiday season seemingly becoming shorter each year, it is easy for consumers to become overwhelmed and fall into spending traps, especially when last-minute shopping,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Fortunately, we have established criteria of common mistakes that lead to over-spending that will benefit the consumer who takes note.”

1.    Not Setting a Budget- Create a shopping list and budget to stay on track. It’s helpful to make a list of everyone you have to buy for with possible gift ideas and spending limits. We also suggest getting gift ideas to avoid buying something that is not wanted or needed.

2.    Not Planning for the ‘Little Things’ - Holiday cards, postage, party gifts, holiday tipping, shipping, travel, décor, high utility bills (lights) etc. add up! According to National Retail Federation, Americans will spend upwards of $170 this year on decorations, cards, candy, and other items easily forgotten on a budget.

3.    Going Overboard on “Bargains” - Just because something is a good deal doesn't mean it's a good deal for you. With so many discounts this season, it's easy to fall into the trap of buying something simply because it's on sale. You may wind up spending more than you intended by purchasing items that weren’t part of your gift ideas or budget.

4.    Relying Strictly on Credit Cards- Research shows that people spend more when they pay with cards. Paying with cash allows you to truly see the money disappear from your pocket. A cash-only spending plan may help you control your spending and save money this holiday season.

5.    Failing to Protect Your Cards during the Holiday Rush - Pay attention to how many credit cards you are carrying. Report a missing card immediately, keep your cards close to your body, and watch out for snoopers with smartphone cameras when you scan your card or type in your pin number. Also be sure to check your account regularly for suspicious charges – even online in between statements.

6.    Not Keeping Receipts – Many retailers will honor the sale price if you made the purchase within a few weeks and refund you the difference. You’ll also want to have receipts on hand if any other items need to be returned or exchanged.

7.    Shopping While Anxious/Tired/Last Minute - Your decision-making skills and good judgment go out the window when you're exhausted, stressed, or feel particularly rushed. This can lead to unnecessary spending. The amount of money that is spent the week before the actual holiday is really what puts most people under water with their finances.

8.    Spending to Impress/ Over Gifting - Whether you’re a young person starting a new career and feel compelled to prove your success or you’re trying to “keep up with the Joneses”, before you make a purchase ask yourself if it’s something the person will really use. If not, then don’t break your budget or go crazy trying to pull it off.

9.    Gift Guilt- Don’t let gift guilt put you into debt. You don’t necessarily have to spend the same amount of money on very person on your list.

American Consumer Credit Counseling’s certified and experienced counselors offer various financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability.

ACCC’s certified and experienced counselors offer a variety of financial education, counseling and debt management services to help consumers achieve long-term financial health and stability. These financial education programs help consumers to better understand and manage their finances. ACCC’s holiday spending poll is the first in a series of planned monthly polls related to budgeting and spending habits, intended to help consumers recognize their budgeting needs. ACCC plans to post these polls and the results on their website and Facebook page.

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
  •     Or 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.

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Krista Robinson
American Consumer Credit Counseling
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