"21 Tips for Wiser Christmas Holiday Spending "
|San Diego, CA.
'The 2008 holiday season is upon us and this could lead to credit card buying,
both for household basics and holiday gifts. Advertising encouraging
consumers to engage in credit-based spending for the gifts and holiday
travel will, no doubt, be very seductive, especially as retailers seek to
bolster lackluster consumer purchases since September.
How do consumers develop resistance to such sales appeals? Develop
some financial self-discipline," advises the Institute of Consumer Financial
Education, (ICFE) a San Diego based, award winning nonprofit group helping
people of all ages become better spenders, regular savers and more careful
use of credit.
Human emotions are heightened and therefore it seems to be especially hard
for some people not to take on debt during the holidays because of the need
to express love, appreciation, and friendship.
Developing better spending methods and techniques is one way people can help
eliminate overspending and keep from getting all charged-up with plastic
this holiday season.
Following is a list of useful spending tips and ideas for holiday shoppers
which can help people spend less overall and perhaps even eliminate the need
for any credit-based spending at all.
1) Create a written plan for holiday spending and gift giving. Include possible gifts, dollar amounts and alternative choices.
2) Establish spending limits for gifts for each person on your list and
start looking for bargains early.
3) If it has been a challenging year financially, then shrink your holiday
gift list. Begin by talking with those you exchange gifts with and perhaps
suggesting not exchanging gifts or mutually observing much lower
dollar-limits on gifts.
4) Separate shopping trips (when going to compare prices, quality, value,
etc.) from spending trips (when going to make a purchase), and resist taking
cash, credit cards or a checkbook on the shopping trips.
5) Wait for those sales! Ever increasing food and energy costs could bite
into holiday sales, so sales and clearances might come earlier than usual in
6) Watch the sale flyers in the mailbox for items you intend to purchase.
7) Ask retailers when the items you are interested in buying are coming on
sale. Most retailers will reveal sale dates because they don't want you to
shop their competition.
8) Sometimes shopping later in the season (for smaller gifts wrapping and
accessories, etc.) will allow you to take advantage of clearance sales.
It will often yield lower prices overall. If holiday sales are sluggish, discounts and clearance sales will appear earlier this season.
9) Liquidators, buying clubs and factory outlet stores usually offer lower
10) Bulk buying with other family members or friends can also yield savings.
11) Spend cash and avoid using credit cards. Charge cards tend to promote
indiscriminate spending. Credit card users often say they had no idea how
much they spent on the holidays until the credit card bills arrive in
January or February of the next year.
12) WARNING, credit cards have a message: SPEND!
13) Sometimes writing checks or using EFT/ATMs can get out of hand
especially when you fail to record each check or calculate the balance after
making an EFT purchase or write a check. It often results in overspending,
playing the cash float game and NSF check charges.
14) Giving gifts to adults on New Year's Day is also very special. Then you
can really take advantage of all those after Christmas sales.
15) Consider gifts that don't cost a lot of out-of-pocket money. Giving a
card to a young family which entitles them to emergency baby-sitting time,
for example, will result in savings for both families. Laundry or
shirt-ironing for a bachelor, a bimonthly sight-seeing outing for senior
citizens or gardening, housecleaning and car washes for grandparents are
useful and often much needed gifts. 16) If considering a part-time job over
the holidays, perhaps working for a department store or other major
retailer because you could then economize with an
employee discount in addition to getting notices about upcoming sales.
17) At office parties and other holiday functions where you might be asked
to provide a gift, suggest that instead of gifts, people bring canned food
for the home
less or disadvantaged families and individuals.
18) Save more on holiday greeting cards and postage by sending only to those
in your life you won't see over the holiday.
19) Make more of your gifts at home. A freshly baked loaf of bread, cookies,
desserts, etc. are always appreciated. Also art, crafts, needle work or a
collage of photographs.
20) Instead of giving money younger children, give them some U. S. Savings
bonds. They cost one half of the face value, will not be immediately spent,
they encourage savings, and because they are interest bearing and tax free
until redemption, the gift keeps on giving.
21) Gift wrapping and incidentals can become costly. It is easy to
give a card with a photo of the gift and the unwrapped gift, use newspapers,
magazines, grocery and shopping bags as gift wrap or reusable gift boxes
It is also very easy to overspend on household and grocery items, especially
during the holidays. The ICFE has available online, "How to Spend Smarter
for Household and Grocery Items" and the popular "ICFE Spender's Profile."
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE),
founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton - creator of the "certified
financial planner” (CFP) designation - is dedicated to helping consumers
of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit
more wisely. The years between 1984 and 2000, the ICFE was also known as
the National Center for Financial Education (NCFE).
The ICFE is a nonprofit consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. Over
one million "Credit
/ Debit Card Warning
Labels” and "Credit
/ Debit Card Sleeves” are in circulation world wide.
The ICFE's on-line help for consumers who spend too much
was featured in PARADE Magazine (June 9th, 2002) in the Intelligence
Report section. The money helps and tips are from the "Money
Instruction Book," a course in personal finance, which was completely
revised and updated in 2002 and is positioned to become among the premier
programs in the new bankruptcy and debtor education initiatives.
The ICFE's "Do-It-Yourself Credit File Correction
Guide," now in its Twelfth Printing, is in use by thousands of consumer credit and debt
counselors in addition to tens of thousands of consumers. It received a
"buy” rating in July, August and November from nationally syndicated
financial columnist, Humberto Cruz in his column, "The Savings Game".
BottomLine Personal newsletter gave the Guide a "Send For” rating in
September 2001. The ICFE and our do-it-yourself approach to credit file
correction was featured on NBC Nightly News on 04-30-02. The Spanish
edition of the Guide premiered in January 2002. Syndicated columnist,
Robert Heady also gave the ICFE Guide a "buy” rating.
The ICFE Web site at: www.financial-education-icfe.org helps consumers with
mending spending, learn about the
proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a
spending-plan and also access financial education courses and videos and how to
teach children about money. Other ICFE services include a
free eNews, and an
on-line resource center of financial education
learning tools, including videos, books and personal finance courses.
Consumers may learn more on the Internet about the "Do-It-Yourself
Credit File Correction Guide" here, or fill out our request
form, indicating your areas of interest.
For more information contact Paul S. Richard ICFE Executive Director at 619-239-1401.