American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) offers advice to avoid financial pitfalls when shopping during this holiday season
Boston, MA – November 17, 2022
The holiday shopping season is here, and it can be easy to get carried away. Giving gifts, entertaining family and friends, and traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas are all part of the traditions. But it’s important to keep close watch on your financial health and spending to avoid a serious money hangover when the season is over.
With living expenses at record levels, American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is advising consumers on how to avoid financial pitfalls when shopping during this season. Overusing credit cards and being enticed by new kinds of “buy now, pay later” promotions are some of the temptations that can come back to haunt consumers long after the decorations have come down.
“Even though there have been repeated measures by the Federal Reserve to tackle inflation, prices remain high,” said Allen Amadin, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Consumers must be mindful of their current financial situation and work to begin the new year in a good financial standing.”
Last year, more than a third of consumers took on holiday debt according to a survey by LendingTree. The average debt accumulated was $1,249. Those with children under the age of 18 and millennials were the most likely to take on holiday debt: on average those groups borrowed $1,462.
Here are some tips that can help people create a good plan when holiday shopping and avoid excessive debt:
- Black Friday Budget: Take advantage of the many Black Friday deals but create a budget and stick to it. Setting a limit will help you not overspend. As soon as you buy something keep the receipt and record it on your phone or a spreadsheet. That way you can keep track of how much you are spending.
- Make a list: Before going out shopping, make a list of what you need to buy and who the gift is for. Then stick to it. Staying focused when shopping will help you avoid buying unnecessary things.
- Do not buy just because something is on sale: Remember the difference between needs and wants during this season. Don’t buy things simply because they are on sale, even if they have a big discount. You will still be paying money that could be used to pay a bill or go towards your debt.
- Avoid opening up store credit cards: When opening a store credit card, you probably get a discount in your purchase. But it’s very often a one-time only offer. Store credit cards have very high APRs. If you forget to pay your card in full (or can’t) the interest will really start to pile up.
- Be cautious of new “buy now, pay later” promotions: New apps for your smartphone are being rolled out that allow you to spread payments out on new purchases without using a credit card. The convenience may be useful; but it’s still an added enticement to spend more than you would otherwise be comfortable with or able to spend.
Following these tips will help to stay on track with spending during the holiday shopping. Even though discounts are attractive and make it seem like we need things we do not, stay focus. With the money not spent unnecessarily consumers can save for an emergency or pay off debt and start the new year with the right foot.
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 through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling, and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx