2015-09-30 / Front Page

Tips To Help Budget Holiday Bucks And Protect Purchases

By Liz Goff
Believe it or not, the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. According to a study released by the National Retail Federation, Americans will fork over more than $11 billion to put gifts under the tree this holiday season.

Retail experts offer the following tips to help you plan ahead to control holiday spending and make smart choices when you shop for gifts, decorations and other holiday needs:

  • Avoid impulse shopping by making a list and sticking to it when choosing gifts for friends and family members.
  • Determine how much you want to spend – and how much you can afford to pay for gifts, decorations and family get-togethers. Do overspend on items you  really don’t want or need.
  • Stay within your budget for each gift, but choose a gift that will please family members, friends, co-workers – and even your boss. You know them well enough to determine the type of gift they will appreciate, so plan ahead to avoid bad last-minute gift choices.
  • Shopping online saves you time, gas money and the urge to splurge on items you see in stores. Many retailers offer deep discounts to online shoppers, so check several store sites before making final gift purchases.
  • Make sure you purchase electronic equipment and gadgets at reputable retail outlets that guarantee to replace items that fail to work on Christmas morning. Save receipts and check refund/exchange policies before you purchase electronic gadgets. Remember, retailers are required by law to post refund and exchange policies at the checkout counter in a place that is clearly visible to customers.
  • Ask retailers about extended warranties you can purchase for electronics. Some of these policies are quite reasonable, but take a moment to study their features an benefits before you shell out additional cash for them.
  • Purchase products that offer tech services, installation instruction and product backup by calling an “800” number or by going online. These services are helpful to consumers who find themselves overwhelmed by operating instructions included in the product packaging.

Retail experts urge you to remember that the holiday gift-buying season kicks off when the last autumn leaves make their way to the ground. So prepare early by budgeting purchases, making smart gift choices and taking advantage of pre-season online and in-store sales.

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