21 Tips for Wiser Holiday Spending
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"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 2008.

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 prices.

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 economize;
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 etc.

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."

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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.
ICFE Provides Financial Education, Continuing Education Credits, CEUs, CEs, Free Credit Repair, Bankruptcy Education and Financial Planning for All Age Groups.
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