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Tips to bounce back from post-holiday sticker shock

uniquelycat (Cathy) Smith
Some Rights Reserved

Holiday spending will be up nearly 5 percent this year, according to the National Retail Federation. WBFO’s Ashley Hirtzel spoke to an advisor from Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Buffalo to see how people can ease the post-holiday sticker shock.

A recent survey conducted by the National Retail Federation finds that people celebrating Kwanzaa, Christmas, or Hanukkah will spend an average of $804.42 this year. Last year, consumers spent an average of $767.27.

CCCS of Buffalo Community Outreach Coordinator Robby Dunn says before you head go out shopping,  make a list, set a dollar amount, and stick to it. He says people spend less when they make a list.

“One of the biggest pieces of advice is to not over extend yourself, especially with credit cards. If you are going to use credit cards to buy gifts, try and only use one or two cards, and make sure that you can pay it off within three months,” said Dunn. “Maybe only bring cash when you go shopping so you don’t spend more than you planned, because things are on discount or on sale. We see that a lot, people saying they had to buy it, because it was on sale.”

56 percent of holiday shoppers are expected to purchase online this year, up from 51.5 percent last. Dunn says there are a lot of pros and cons to shopping online.

“You can find good discounts online, but sometimes we can get a little impulsive as humans. But, that could be something that’s as simple as realizing it’s a problem for you and you just have to try not to do it,” said Dunn.

The survey found consumers will spend an average of $459.87 on family members, up 6.5 percent from $432.00 last year. They will also spend an average of $80 on friends, $104.74 on food, $53.68 on decorations and $29.18 on greeting cards. Dunn urges shoppers to stay away from store credit cards.

“I see a lot of clients that specifically say they got a retail store card to take advantage of the discount, but if you carry a balance for a few months, and incur enough interest then any discounts that you’re getting shopping at these stores is going to be negated,” said Dunn.

But, if your holiday shopping is already complete, Dunn urges them to put a heavy chunk of money towards their holiday debt each month to get it paid off. He also suggests people work with their bank to get rates reduced, and to start saving for next year.