By Robert J. Semrad
The holiday season is a time full of fun, family and, more often than not, debt. People spend beyond their means throughout the entire holiday shopping season. Debt expert and bankruptcy attorney Robert Semrad knows what the top 10 holiday money mistakes are; here's how to avoid them.
1.) Forgetting to budget for extras. There are many other added expenses besides the presents. Gift wrapping, holiday greeting cards, postage and boxes are just a few among the list of many other essential holiday items. To cut back: Try making your own Christmas cards by hand, or wrap gifts with comic strips from the newspaper.
2.) Getting blinded by bargains. So many retailers are offering great bargains that lure people to purchase items they don’t really want or need. Tip: Make a shopping list and stick to it. If one of
your items are on sale, great. If not, just move onto the next item on your list.
3.) Buying on credit. It’s an easy habit to fall into. After all, you’ll pay it off next month right?
Just say no: Overspending is what led to the credit crisis that we are in today. If you can’t afford to pay cash, then don’t buy it.
4.) Spending to impress. Don’t buy a large extravagant gift just for the sake of buying it. Purchase gifts for people that they really need and that you can afford. Keep in mind: It’s not how much you spend on a gift; it is the thought behind the gesture.
5.) Losing or throwing away receipts. Items that you just purchased one week prior will go on sale the next. Keep your receipts, as you’ll never know when they come in handy. Don't forget: You will want the luxury of returning some items. If you lose the receipt then chances are you will only get store credit.
6.) Getting gift guilt. You do not have to spend the same amount of money on every single person. This will only lead to more and more debt. If there’s a game that someone wants that $20 cheaper than some of the other gifts, it’s OK. Don’t feel the pressure: People should just be happy that you are being thoughtful during the holiday season. They will not be bringing out calculators tallying up the differences that you spent on other people.
7.) Not doing their homework before stepping into a store. Whether it’s the newest doll or the hottest gaming system know where the deals are before you start your shopping adventure. Various websites offer great price comparisons, and they take most if not all of the work out for you. Look, look, look: Knowing the specifics of the product and the cheapest places to buy it are a plus. Sometimes it’s only a few bucks discounted on certain items. But it can add up to a lot.