Plan Now for Holiday Shopping - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Plan Now for Holiday Shopping

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We are now in the month of November and that means the start of the holiday shopping season is almost here.  Do you have a plan to buy wisely?  News 13 brings you helpful tips in this Problem Solver.

Every December, year after year, busy shoppers looking to buy present after present after present.  But, before that hectic time gets here, it is so important to plan, plan, plan.  Jim Warren, President and CEO of Tyndall Federal Credit Union says create your own game plan for the holidays and, "It is so important to budget before you shop...not just budget for money but also for time.  Set aside an amount. Okay here is what I have. Realistically, work with that

Here is some advice from

Make a list and check it twice - come up with a gift idea and spending range for each person on your  list.

Avoid frenzy spending - it is easy to get caught up with black Friday crowded stores and Christmas bargains.  Tyndall Video Financial Services Advisor Jordan Moore says,"It is so much more tempting to go out and buy and then they will have store credit cards where they will offer you to save more and a lot of store credit cards carry a really high interest rate."

And remember, credit cards are not income.  According to Larry Bailey, Tyndall Video Lending Supervisor, "You can't live off your credit cards. Because the rates you are going to pay on it and the amount you pay back over period of time are fairly high on credit card rates." 

Know your limits - your credit score can drop significantly if you overuse your credit cards. 

Tyndall President and CEO Jim Warren says to think about what it is going to be like next year when the holiday shopping bills come in the mail… and, "You are out there Black Friday, buying away, feeling good getting everybody's presents done, but think about how you are gonna feel in March 2014."

Use cash - if you have a day of big holiday shopping ahead. 

Focus on the frugal - some of the best holiday fun is virtually free! Invite friends over for hot cider, make popcorn garlands, watch "it's a wonderful life" on tv. Remember: no matter what holiday you celebrate, retail is not the reason for the season!

Watch out for identity theft grinches - identity thieves love the holidays!  Many busy consumers stop paying attention to their credit and personal information, leaving a big window for theft. You can guard against holiday identity theft by shredding receipts, and catalogs, reviewing your statements closely, and checking your credit reports.

Another important way to buy now is on lawaway.  Just a down payment and installments over the next few weeks will make buying easier on your bank account.