Magazine article USA TODAY

Join Santa in Starting Early

Magazine article USA TODAY

Join Santa in Starting Early

Article excerpt

With the dog days of August blanketing the nation, it may be difficult to think about the fact that the winter holidays will be here in just a few months. However, the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies, Fairfax, Va., says that consumers should start their holiday planning now. This will allow consumers the ability to spread out their costs over a longer period of time without resorting to the use of credit," explains David Jones, president of AICCCA. "This is especially true for those who are already struggling to make ends meet."

Whether you are planning to go ahead and begin shopping now or want to open a holiday savings account, you will need to decide upon the amount of money available for use. Plan to pay for all purchases, or start putting money away, with cash on hand. Avoid charging unless you can pay the balance due in 90 days or less.

Record every person you plan to shop for and assign a dollar amount to his or her gift. …

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