Sorry to raise this topic so soon after Halloween but the December issue of Consumer Reports arrived with 7 spending rules to help avoid problems when holiday shopping.
1. Thou shalt manage receipts. (needed for returns, warranties, proof of purchase) in a paper or computer folder.
2. Thou shalt use credit cards Which provide fraud protection. Don't buy just to build up more points or frequent flyer miles.
3. Thou shalt keep track of rebates. read the fine print and follow the detailed instructions to the letter. You often have to jump through ridiculous hoops to get the rebate.
4. Thou shalt not take on debt. Do i need to say anything more? If you can't afford it don't buy it! Give gifts of time or homemade treats. If you haven't had my Christmas granola, you're in for a treat.
5. Thou shalt not fall victim to hype. Stay home or go for a hike on Black Friday. Avoid the crowds and over priced (50% off!! Off what?) merchandise that will end up in the land fill shortly. Where are last year's must have toys?? Research by Consumer Reports found prices FELL after Black Friday!
6. Thou shalt not become a target... for ID theft. Don't give out personal info! Avoid the incessant marketing that will ensue if you provide your phone or email address to retailers. Lots on this blog about avoiding ID theft.
7. THOU SHALT NOT GIVE GIFT CARDS!!! Often loaded with fees (to buy, to use, and when you don't use them. The recipient is restricted to a specific retailer and they can't save part of what they receive. Maybe they really need cash to pay bills rather than another sweater. Give cash or a check instead and let the recipient decide what they need/want.