Washington D.C. – Halloween begins the annual holiday parade of spending, meaning there could be some scary surprises in store for consumers who haven’t planned for the extra costs. The consequences for consumers who choose to charge their holiday expenses could be frightful warns the Financial Counseling Association of America.
The National Retail Federation’s average per person spending projections for each holiday are:
- Halloween $74
- Thanksgiving $50
- Winter Holidays $805
Travel costs are not included in these projections. Many consumers will travel for at least one holiday. Consumers who are not prepared may find themselves reaching for a credit card to cover the extra spending.
“It is possible to enjoy the holidays without increasing your debt,” said Kevin Weeks, president, Financial Counseling Association of America. “All it takes is planning and the discipline to follow the plan.”
FCAA offers three questions for consumers to answer that will help keep holiday spending under control:
- How much can we afford? Realistically examine your household budget and determine the amount of money you can spend without having to rely on credit cards. If you must buy some items on credit, be sure that you can pay off the cards in 90 days or less.
- What will we buy? Make a list and assign a dollar amount that corresponds to the overall budget. Don’t forget to include decorating, entertaining and travel costs. Make adjustments as necessary to stay within your spending plan.
- When do we stop? Just like grocery shopping with a list, only buy the items on your list. Once all of the items on your list have been checked off, stay out of the stores until the holidays are over.
If you need help, contact an FCAA member at 866-703-8787 or visit www.fcaa.org.