Money Matters: Holiday shopping on a budget

Reported by: Brittany Price
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Updated: 12/05/2012 9:42 am

It's the season of present purchasing and gift giving, but holiday shopping can make many consumers vulnerable to over spending.

Falling into a hole of deep debt can spoil holiday cheer but it can be done without breaking the bank.

Associate Professor of Retail Management at Texas Tech, Deborah Fowler, said her top tip is to use debit instead of credit.

"If you use your debit card there's not an infinite amount of money to use so you'll more than likely stay on budget," Fowler said.  

Also, avoid department store credit cards.

"It actually impacts your credit rating because every time you take out a credit card or cancel a credit card it impacts your credit rating,” Fowler said.

 Fowler adds, don’t be tempted by first purchase discounts.

"In the long run there's probably not any point to it. You might save $10 today, but you might turn around and spend more interest than what you saved," Fowler said.  

Another shopping tactic is to make a detailed list and stick to it.

"I'm at that point now where going 'oh, I'll just pick up one more thing, and one more thing.' Then you realize you're getting out of control," Fowler said.  

One way to avoid that habit is to take time to pre-shop.

"Look on the web. Look at other places. Go to other places and check out the prices. You'll be surprised sometimes at the price you'll be able to get if you just check it out," Fowler said.   

Take a look at technology too. Cell phone apps can be a money saving tool.

"One of them is Red Laser. You can scan in the bar code of Red Laser and look at the prices at different places and do price checks," Fowler said.

Being a smart shopper also means being a safe shopper.

"Really be careful as a shopper. There are people watching you punch in your pin number, checking all sorts of things about you, even following you to your car," Fowler said.

Fowler also said she utilizes layaway as another way to save green during the holiday season.



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