CHICAGO, IL - November 21, 2012- The holiday
shopping season kicks off with Black Friday. The excitement of the holidays creates
a tendency for consumers to overspend, but planning ahead can lessen the impact
when credit card bills start rolling in. The Better Business Bureau serving
Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) offers financial tips to help make sure
your holidays, and the days after, are merry and bright!
is easy to get wrapped up in the holiday season and forget to budget,” said
Steve J. Bernas, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.
“You do not want the fun of the holidays to leave you strapped for cash come
Before hitting the stores
take the time to determine an overall budget, decide how much to designate for
each category (gifts, parties, travel, food and donations), then get into
details like how much to spend on each person or for parties and travel.
Creating a budget and sticking to it can be a challenge. However, being more
conscious of your holiday spending habits will help you start the new year
without a lot of new debt.
BBB offers more ideas for sticking to a budget:
Less is more: Reduce gift-giving. For
work gatherings, have everyone draw a name and give one gift. Set limits with
family members and then get creative about finding something in your new, lower
price range. For the person who has everything, consider making a charitable
donation in his or her name.
Do It Yourself: Homemade crafts and decorations can be fun to make and to give.
Consider baking or canning your gifts this year. Give gift certificates for
future services (babysitting, dog walking, leaf raking) or special events after
the holidays (shows, ice skating, sleigh rides).
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Use less of everything, because little things add
up. Is it necessary to gift wrap that huge box? How
about putting a “clue” under the tree instead and have the recipient find the
present hidden someplace else in the house. Reuse gift bags – they are sturdy
enough to be used five or six times. Make your own gift tags and decorations.
Spray paint old candle holders gold or silver instead of buying new ones.
Trim Energy Costs: Switch to LED lights. You’ll not only burn less energy, and you’ll need
fewer strands because the lights are brighter. Turn off your outside decorations
when you go to bed. Turn down the thermostat when no one is home. Combine
shopping trips and errands, and carpool to family gatherings.
For more information on holiday shopping and finding
businesses you can trust, visit www.bbb.org
private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is
to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by
means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising
claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop
and issue reviews on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage
people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.