6 tips to help you avoid getting stuck with holiday debt

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Before you click to buy this holiday season, you want to make sure you don’t end up with a financial holiday hangover.

There are six things you need to know to avoid problems later.

First, just like Santa, make sure you have a specific holiday list budgeted for each person.

“Be mindful of making sure that list is edited and updated,” said Bobbi Rebell with Financial Wellness Strategies.

To avoid reactionary spending on unexpected gifts or guests, purchase a few extra items in bulk and in advance.

“For example, you could do scented candles or wine bottles, where you wrap them up in advance and you have them as backup gifts,” said Rebell.

Also, use browser extensions.

“The most popular ones tend to be Rakuten and Honey. And what’s great about them is they do all the legwork for you. They pop up instantly when you’re shopping and tell you what kind of cashback or what kind of discount coupon they have found for you. And they prompt you to accept it. So all the work is done for you,” Rebell added.

It’s the free gift you can give yourself that keeps on giving.

“You can actually get a check in the mail of actual money that comes to you. It’s like a gift that comes to you after the holidays that you can then spend on a treat for yourself for saving all that money.”

But Rebell also had one warning.

“Make sure you go directly to the original site because there might be some copycats out there.”

Also, make sure you get the best price of the season and ask retailers about their price adjustment policy so if a price drops after you buy, you can get some money back.

And if an item has a little dent or ding, ask for a discount.

“You can point that out to a sales clerk and they can often give you as much as 10% off just for that slight imperfection.”

And finally, if you do rack up credit card debt, Rebell has advice.

“Call your credit card company and see if they can make an adjustment, especially if you’re getting any kind of late fees or things they can drop those if you ask them nicely, they can also sometimes adjust your rate.”

Two more tips are to ask store employees if they have any coupons you can use and for inside intel on future sales.

A really pro move is to then request, “If I buy it now, will you give me that lower price earlier so I don’t miss out on the item?”

It never hurts to ask.

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