Magazine article USA TODAY

Last-Minute Rush Should Be Panic-Free

Magazine article USA TODAY

Last-Minute Rush Should Be Panic-Free

Article excerpt

It soon becomes panic time for the last-minute shoppers of the world. The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies, Fairfax, Va., advises consumers to take a deep breath, slow down, and come up with a financial plan before hitting the stores.

"At this time in the shopping season, for some consumers the temptation is to spend too much or just charge a purchase simply to have a gift to give," notes David Jones, president of AICCCA. "These consumers could find themselves in real financial trouble in the New Year if they spend more than they can realistically afford or if they charge their holiday expenses without a plan in place to pay off the debt."

For those short on time and money, AICCCA offers these tips:

Write it down. List each person you will buy for, a gift idea with the dollar amount you can afford, and stores that carry the item. Make use of newspaper, radio, television, and online advertising to do some comparison shopping before you set out. …

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