Editorial

Avoid shopping hangover by careful planning

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

We usually associate being hungover with New Years celebrations, but according to NerdWallet, itís a big problem when it comes to holiday spending.

Americans are expected to spend $660 on average this Christmas season, but many are still ďhung overĒ from last yearís shopping, having failed to pay off 2016 holiday debt.

Millennials are the worst; 24 percent of them still holding credit card debt incurred during last yearís shopping season. Sixteen percent of Gen-Xers havenít and only 8 percent of boomers havenít paid off last yearís debt.

While more boomers took on debt than other generations, 63 percent, compared to 58 percent for Gen-Xers and 40 percent of millennials, the older generation was more successful at paying it off.

Itís not fool-proof, but setting a good shopping budget, and sticking to it is a good start if you havenít completed your shopping yet.

Once youíve figured out how much you can comfortably afford to spend, divide it by the number of people you plan to buy gifts for to get an estimate of how much you can spend on each one.

Does everyone on the list really need to be there? Prioritize with your immediate family and close friends, and add from there. Donít let your emotions get the best of you.

Keep an eye on sales ó Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday ó but donít get overly caught up in the pursuit of that ideal gift.

Pay in cash. Thereís a reason merchants are willing to pay fees to accept credit cards. Itís way too easy to overspend when you donít see the actual greenbacks going out.

When you do end up with a balance on your credit card, pay it back as quickly as possible ó immediately is best.

Shop by yourself. Donít let your friendís impulsiveness with your money ruin your well-laid Christmas shopping plans.

Remember, it is better to give than to receive. This is the season for giving, not for buying things for yourself ó things someone else might have been planning to gift to you.

If your item doesnít appear under the tree, pick it up on an after-Christmas sale.

If you do shop online, remember to shop around rather than default to the easiest online retailer.

How many toys can a kid play with at once?

Thatís right, one.

We like a formula: Something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read.

We canít think of a better way to spend this Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25, than by carefully shopping to fill that list for our young family members and friends.

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