Tis the season to go BROKE

Experts say planning is the key to wise holiday shopping
Dec. 10, 2012 @ 12:07 PM

Tis the season to spread some holiday cheer with dreams of not going broke in the process. For many that Christmas list may be quite long, while your pockets are coming up short. Jim Wehrley, dean of High Point University’s School of Business, said that there are ways to keep your hard-earned money in your pocket and still get everyone what they need. Wehrley, who teaches a personal finance class, said that if you haven’t started saving your hard-earned cash, it may be too late.
“It is best to start saving money on an annual basis. They would hopefully be putting some money aside throughout the year for the holidays,” Wehrley said.
There are some tips that can make sure you’re not singing the blues when January comes rolling in. The first thing you should do, according to Wehrley, is take an inventory of what items you already have before buying more.
“It is always a good idea to reflect on your needs versus your wants, and the needs versus wants for those you are buying for,” Wehrley said. “It is based on how well you know the person.”
Susan Apple, senior vice president of retail banking with High Point Bank and Trust, suggests that you plan for holiday expenses as well. “Stores are designed to be marketing magnets that are tempting to everyone,” Apple said. “You are going to have your normal expenses and then expenses for gifts, postage, cards, wrapping paper and food. Try to have a plan and avoid putting those expenses on credit cards. You should have a plan on how you plan to pay that debt.”
Wehrley also warns of making unnecessary purchases on your credit card when shopping for holiday delights.
“You should only use a credit card if you have the money to pay that credit card off,” Wehrley said. “If they are using the credit card because they do not have the money, they probably should not be making that purchase.”
Wehrley suggests having a plan before you even walk out the door.
“Whether you trim the list or expand the list, you’re voting with your dollar what you value,” Wehrley said. “It is good to always have a plan in mind and stick to your budget. You don’t want to go to the store and say you have a specific amount for one person but spend more because you see the perfect gift for that person.”
Apple agrees with Wehrley about keeping a shopping list handy.
“You should make a list and check it twice. You should write down who you are shopping for and how much you are spending before you go to the store,” Apple said. “This way you’re planning ahead and not just buying on impulse.”
cdavis@hpe.com | 888-3657

Holiday Shopping Tips
• Make your decisions before shopping
• Set a limit for shopping
• If you lack discipline, leave the credit cards at home, bring cash instead
• Shop for bargains - do the research to get the best price
• Watch the need to impulse shop
• Give yourself a present by saving for next year - open up an account specifically for Christmas savings.