I don’t know about you but I have started to receive all sorts of emails about the up and coming holiday shopping season. It seems every year retailers are starting their holiday push sooner and sooner. In fact, many stores such as Meijer are already sending out their Black Friday ads. Unfortunately, the holiday season has become a time when people are under more and more pressure to buy, buy and buy some more. In fact, according to recent reports, a substantial number of Americans have just finished paying for their holiday gifts from last year and now the pressure once again ramps up for them to spend for this holiday season. We all know the holidays are really not about buying gifts but rather, a time to appreciate family and friends. That being said, we have to accept the reality of the world and that is that during this time of year there is an inordinate amount of pressure to buy gifts for everyone and anyone. Anyone who truly cares about you does not want you to overspend for the holiday season. Therefore, before you start your holiday shopping there are some things that you should do.
I believe the first thing that you should do before you begin shopping this holiday season it to set a budget for yourself. You need to know how much you can spend during the holiday season without having to go into debt. Set a budget for yourself and stick to it. If you say you’re going to spend one thousand dollars during this holiday season, keep to it. In that regard, it is important to remember you don’t have to buy gifts for everyone. As part of your budget you ought to write a list of who you need to buy gifts for. Once again, just because you know someone, doesn’t mean that you have to buy them a gift.
One of the realities of holiday shopping is many use credit cards. Unfortunately, using credit cards means financing purchases and thus, paying a substantial amount in interest. Therefore, as part of your holiday shopping strategy, if you are going to finance to purchase a gift, you need to make sure you’re using the right credit cards. Not all credit card companies charge the same interest rate or compute it the same way. Some credit cards will have a grace period, others will not. Certain credit cards may have you paying 20½ percent interest while another one you may only be paying eight percent. The bottom line is before you begin your holiday shopping, if you are using a credit card it is important that you use the right credit card.
Also, during this holiday shopping season your safety is important. If you’re shopping online you need to make sure that you’re dealing with a reputable company. Remember, when you’re buying something online you are providing that company with all sorts of information. It is important that you don’t provide this information to just anyone. Therefore, before you buy anything online during this holiday season, make sure you do your homework ahead of time. In addition, don’t forget about your personal safety when you head out to the malls. Pick pockets and thieves are out in numbers during the holiday season because they know that people tend to let their guards down. During the holiday season you need to increase your awareness, if for no other reason than crooks are out in force.
As you begin your holiday shopping, remember the holidays should be a time of happiness and to celebrate family and friends. It should not be a time of financial stress.
Rick is a fee-only financial advisor. His website is www.bloomassetmanagement.com. If you would like Rick to respond to your questions, please email Rick at firstname.lastname@example.org.