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CareOne Offers Holiday Spending Strategy to Keep Your Bank Account Merry and Bright

Columbia, MD (PRWEB) December 6, 2007 -- Start making your list and checking it twice, the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. With a little forethought and careful planning, consumers can have an enjoyable, stress free holiday to focus on family without a last minute spending frenzy!

Many consumers let gift giving dominate their holiday rituals. This year, emphasize what's most important to you -- your family, friends, community, church or synagogue -- and put your shopping on the back burner.

CareOne Credit Counseling Services offers consumers a spending strategy to minimize expenses and frustration so you can relax and revel in the seasonal festivities.

  • Consider Your Commitments. Presents are not the only items consumers spend their money on during the holidays. Think of all activities you have planned and what costs they require. Are you hosting your family dinner and must cover the cost of food? Is your child in a pageant and you must provide a costume? Go ahead and start writing down all of your financial obligations during the holidays, so you can create an appropriate budget.
     
  • Look at Hard Numbers. Before Thanksgiving rolls around and you get caught up in the emotion of the season, review your bank account for self imposed reality check. How much money do you have available to spend this month without having to use a credit card? Go ahead and determine a maximum dollar amount that you cannot surpass in spending throughout the month of December.
     
  • Map Out a Spending List. A budget based on hard numbers and not emotion is a necessity to ensure you don't go overboard. If you know ahead of time exactly what you can spend on holiday gifts and entertaining, you will avoid spending more than you can afford. Assign a maximum dollar amount to each person on your holiday list and try to spend less if possible! Try to determine the items you'd like to purchase for each person on your list prior to your shopping excursion.
     
  • Shop early. Start your shopping before the holiday decorations are up and the seasonal music is playing so you can concentrate on your spending goals and not get caught up in the excitement and the latest promotional sales. Go ahead and purchase any non-perishable grocery items for your holiday dinner to avoid the rush at the supermarket. See more smart shopping tips in the CareOne article library.
     
  • Don't Get Distracted. Concentrate on what you need to purchase and not what others in the store are buying. Don't get caught up in the "it" gift craze over the one "must have" item of the year. While you may see great deals on items you'd like for yourself, focus on those who are on your gift list and avoid non essential spending.
     
  • Compare Store Prices to Online Options. You can often find that same kitchen gadget or pair of shoes online at a lower price. Don't forget that you can save sales tax by ordering out of state. Take a pen and paper with you to write down brand names, model number and prices when you are looking for gifts at the store. Then compare prices online before committing to buy.
     
  • Be Thoughtful and Creative. Great gifts can be found outside of the shopping mall. Think about what items your loved ones really enjoy that they don't often splurge for. Is it a special dessert that you can make yourself? Do you have a meaningful photo in your collection that others in your family might enjoy? Has someone recently moved into a new home and would appreciate a house warming gift like a plant, towels or even a basket of cleaning supplies. For more great creative gift ideas, read Holiday Gift Giving on a Budget.
     

"Planning ahead is the best way to avoid overspending during the holidays," says Clarky Davis, CareOne Credit Counseling Services spokesperson. "It removes the financial pressure, so consumers can actually take their time and enjoy the season's festivities without the stress and burden of gift shopping."

CareOne Credit Counseling services. CareOne is the industry's leading debt management program brand, linking consumers together with agencies that provide customized solutions, 24-hour account access, electronic payment options, strict privacy controls, and ongoing support and counseling.

Contact Information:
Clarky Davis, Spokesperson
CareOne Services, Inc.
9755 Patuxent Woods Drive, Suite 100
Columbia, MD 21046
410-925-9769

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