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Shop smart to avoid debt this silly season

Friday, December 2, 2011
Should you pay off debt or save?
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Christmas trees are being decorated, carols are hitting the sound waves and end of year work functions are in full swing. While signs of the festive season are hard to miss, one thing you may be putting off is your annual Christmas shopping.

If you haven’t done your Christmas shopping yet, don’t panic. Last minute shopping can lead to impulse decisions and dumb debt, which is high interest debt that could be avoided. It’s not smart to get into, unless you can pay it off within the interest-free period, because the longer it’s left unpaid, the bigger it gets.

To avoid waking up to a mountain of Christmas dumb debt in 2012, it’s a good idea to have some smart shopping strategies in place before you hit the streets. Think about who you need to buy for, what they might like and set a spending limit for each person. Take the list with you when you go shopping and try to stick to it. This goes for the Christmas grocery shop as well, planning what you’ll put in your grocery trolley before you get to the supermarket will help you stay away from temptation — and avoid a shock when it comes to paying at the checkout.

If you find yourself getting out your credit card when you’re shopping, make sure you can pay it off within the interest-free period before you start swiping. If you have trouble avoiding temptation, try leaving it at home. When present shopping, you could try drawing the amount you’ve budgeted for gifts, and only spend the cash you’ve drawn. That way you can see the money going and will be more likely to stick to your plan.

If you’re feeling pressure to spend a lot of money on gifts, remember that at Christmas it is genuinely the thought that counts. An album filled with photographs, some delicious, yet beautifully presented home baking, or your services as a gardener or babysitter can be as appreciated as much as an expensive gift.

To share your tips on avoiding dumb debt this festive season, or for more useful tips for yourself visit A little planning and useful advice now, can help you give dumb debt the flick this summer and save you money.

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