Friday, October 01, 2010

Think Twice Before Shopping This Holiday Season

Most Americans spend the greatest amount of money and go into debt during the December holiday season. This year get a jumpstart on holiday shopping and start shopping in October. When shopping for gifts during the holidays, many shoppers are filled with anxiety, pressure or guilt about spending money during the holidays.

If you don't have the money to buy gifts be honest with yourself first, then with your family and friends. The holidays about not about spending money, they are about spending time with family and friends. If you have a small amount of buy to buy gifts buy what you can and don't use your credit card to buy gifts unless you have the money to pay the debt off in two or three months.

Here are some reasons why you shouldn't spend money this holiday: 1) you owe more than $5,000 in debt, 2) you are not a homeowner, 3) you do not have a savings account, 4) you do not have a retirement account or have a low balance, 5) you owe more on your home or car than what it is worth, 6) you have bad credit, 7) you are considering filing for bankruptcy or foreclosure, 8) you live with your parents.

Here are 5 ways to help you save money during holiday shopping.
1. Visit the local dollar store to find gifts for children.

2. Visit local vendors, you can probably negotiate a good deal on the same items you find in the department stores.

3. Think of creative gifts to give that you can make yourself.

4. If you have to buy gifts for several family members try doing a "secret Santa" or "grab bag" so only one family member has to buy a gift for one family member and set a limit on the amount spent. That way everyone gets a gift and you don't have to worry about buying several gifts.

5. Shop online, some companies waive shipping and handling fees during the holiday season.

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