Time is running out. For those who have not completed their holiday shopping, just a few precious days are left. However, the shopping decisions made between now and the holidays will determine whether or not we will be paying off 1997’s holiday bills well into 1998.
“When we’re in a time crunch, we’re likely to shop with our heart rather than with our head,” says Durant Abernethy, president of the National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC). “But, by keeping the season in perspective, consumers can avoid the overspending that comes with last-minute shopping.” To help holiday shoppers, NFCC is offering a four-part series called: Holiday Spending: A Plan for the Season. Parts one through three covered budgeting, inexpensive gift ideas and smart shopping strategies. This final installment offers advice for last minute shopping.
Part Four: Last Minute Tips
â¢ Review your budget. How much have you spent already this holiday season? Add up what you’ve spent to date. Subtract this amount from the money you had allocated for holiday spending. Refine your gift list and other holiday spending to stay within your overall budget. And remember, if you overspend on one item or another, you don’t have to throw the whole budget out. Simply readjust the rest of your spending. If you don’t have a budget, devise one now.
â¢ Think twice before you buy. Before buying a gift, ask yourself if the gift will be both appropriate for the recipient and within your price range. Don’t buy the gift just to have something, and watch the extra impulse gifts. Plan to pay for gift purchased with a credit card within 90 days. A $20 sweater bought on credit could end up costing $30 if not paid off promptly.
â¢ Use presentation to dress up inexpensive gifts. We all love to receive beautiful packages. Put home-made cookies in a decorative basket or hand paint a photo frame. Make your own wrapping paper with butcher paper, glitter and stamps.
â¢ Put off some gift giving until after the holidays. You may agree in advance with family and friends to exchange gifts after the holidays. This way you cn take advantage of the after-Christmas sales and you can shop leisurely.
â¢ Take time for yourself. Make room in your schedule for a trip to the gym or a long, hot bath. This will enable you to relax and rejuvenate. After you are rested, then tackle your remaining shopping and chores. This approach should help you from overspending simply because you are stressed.
To learn more about budgeting and using credit or to receive confidential money management counseling, contact a local NFCC member agency. The National Foundation for Consumer Credit is the nation’s oldest and largest non-profit organization providing education and conseling services on budgeting and credit. NFCC members, located in 1,300 offices across the United States, Puero Rico, and Canada can be identified by the NFCC member seal. This seal signifies standards that include agency accreditation, counselor certification, and policies that ensure confidential services that are free or low-cost. Many members operate under the name Consumer Credit Counseling Services. To locate the closest NFCC member office, call toll-free, 24 hours a day 1-800-388-2227 or visit the NFCC Home Page at [www.nfcc.org]. Spanish speaking consumers can call 1-800-682-9832.