Holiday Shopping: The Last Minute Shoppers Guide For Massachusetts Consumers

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National nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling offers tips on how to save money on last minute holiday shopping

As more consumers put off holiday shopping till the very last minute, a plan that enables them to be strategic and prepared is even more critical.

Before frantically heading out the door to do your very last minute holiday shopping, take a breather and prepare yourself. Shopping in a panic can increase your risk of over spending. American Consumer Credit Counseling can help you avoid going deeper into debt with this guide to effective – and affordable - last minute shopping.

“The holiday season tends to sneak up on shoppers, and it’s relatively easy for consumers to become overwhelmed and engage in a last minute spending spree,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is located in Newton, Mass. “As more consumers put off holiday shopping till the very last minute, a plan that enables them to be strategic and prepared is even more critical.”

According to the Retailers Association of Massachusetts, retail sector sales in November and December are expected to total approximately $15.8 billion. That’s a 6.5 percent increase in retail sales from the same holiday period in 2014.
The 2015 Cardlytics Holiday Retail Report stated that more American consumers are procrastinating when it comes to holiday shopping, which can lead to overspending. In 2014 consumers spent 12.2 percent more during the week prior to Christmas than the same week in 2013.

American Consumer Credit Counseling has this advice for last minute shoppers that can help curb overspending:
1.    Have a List – Create a targeted list of items you are looking for before heading to the store. Use the list as a guide to get you in and out of a store and decrease your chances of impulse buying.

2.    Have a Budget – In an ideal world you already set money aside for the holidays, but this is last minute shopping. Without a budget you fall into the risk of overspending.

3.    Shop Online – Shopping online can save time, money and gas. Online shopping can also decrease temptations. Many retailers can ship items in time for Christmas even if you order just a couple of days before December 25.

4.    Go the Gift Card Route – If all the best items are sold out don’t buy something just to buy anything. Purchase a gift card in hopes so that the recipient has some flexibility, or with the hope that the item will be back in stock after the holiday season.

5.    Research – Before heading out the door, check your favorite stores’ websites to see what sales they may be offering.

6.    Be Aware of Extra Costs – Shipping costs can add up so it is important to be aware of them. Consider the pick-up in store option if there is a location relatively close.

7.    Homemade Gifts – Short on money? Consider making gifts for your friends and family. Check do-it-yourself sites or create a gifts basket filled with small items.

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
  •          Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. ACCC provides individuals with practical debt 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’s certified credit advisors work with consumers to help them determine the best plan of action to get out of debt and regain financial stability. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®) and 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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