Washington, D.C. – As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, retailers are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to bring in spending customers with the promise of big savings.
“Getting customers through the door or an online portal to spend money is what Black Friday and Cyber Monday are all about,” said Kevin Weeks, president, Financial Counseling Association of America. “Consumers who plan to shop on these days need a plan before they set out.”
FCAA offers these tips to help consumers avoid overspending:
- Start with and stick to a list. Clearly define your shopping list to include everyone you plan to buy for and a dollar amount for each gift. Take your list with you when you shop so that you can mark off those gifts you do buy and to keep you from buying something that is not on your list.
- Take the time to comparison shop. Scope out the ad circulars or go online once you have determined your shopping list. Do take advantage of sales; just make sure to buy only those items already on your list.
- Leave the credit cards at home. Determine the amount you can afford to spend before you go out shopping. Leaving the credit cards at home and using cash, a debit card or checks to pay for your purchases will make it easier to resist the temptation to spend more than you planned or buy something that is not on your list.
- Know how to handle Cyber Monday shopping. It is much safer to purchase items online with a credit card rather than a debit card. Be sure you know how much you can spend online that will enable you to pay off your purchases in full next month to avoid losing your savings in interest charges. If you must revolve the credit, try to only charge what you can afford to pay off within about 90 days.
- When you run out of money, stop. This may be the hardest thing to do, but getting out of the crowds is good incentive. The same thing applies to Cyber Monday – stop when you have reached your pre-determined limit.
If you need financial help or have questions, a qualified FCAA member office can help get your financial life back on track. To get help now, contact a FCAA member at 866-703-8787 or visit www.fcaa.org.