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Can Christmas wait?

Holiday shopping

By Tanisha Warner, Communications Manager

With Christmas right around the corner, the mad dash to the mall is on. In fact, according to a recent survey by, an online shopping site, 41 percent of consumers plan to shop between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24 for holiday gifts.

Of those last minute shoppers, 43 percent believe the best discounts can be found during this time period. Some consumers are planning to wait even longer to complete their gift list in order to take advantage of after Christmas sales.

With prices expected to be reduced by as much as 75 percent after the 25th, it might be worth the wait.

Waiting until after Christmas may be harder for parents with small children, but with the average household expected to spend nearly $650 on gifts alone, some parents have found ways to break the news to older children and other family members; according to a recent report.

For many, waiting until after Christmas may not be an option, but waiting until the last few days might be a smart strategy. Retailers will continue to drop prices until well into the New Year. A study conducted by the American Research Group, found that early shoppers will end up spending 14 percent more than those who wait. Either way, retailers are expected to do very well this holiday season — $469 billion in sales well — which is a 3.8 percent increase over last year.

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Dreaming of a
black Christmas 

Don't let last-minute shopping put your finances in the red

While retailers are busy trying to stimulate enough holiday sales to put them into the black financially, consumers are dreaming of a black Christmas, one that keeps them in the black on their personal ledger sheet.

The NFCC and MMI offer the following last-minute tips to help consumers avoid buyer’s remorse, whether that guilt comes a few days after shopping, resulting in returning the purchases, or in January when the bills start arriving.

  • Don’t make impulse purchases. Resist the temptation to buy anything just to be able to mark it off your list. A thoughtless gift isn’t worth the paper it’s wrapped in.
  • Make your shopping trips short by having a shopping strategy. Know what you want, where you’re going to get it, and how much you’re going to spend. Your goal is to get in and get out of the stores, thus limiting the temptation to spend.
  • While shopping, take frequent breaks and track your spending. Staying on budget equals staying in the black.
  • Resist paying steep rush shipping charges. It’s better to find an alternative gift than to spend as much in shipping as you did on the gift.
  • If you can’t find the right gift, know that a gift card always fits. Further, the recipient can use it during the steep after-Christmas sales and maximize the value.

Play it safe and inquire about the return policy before you buy. If the store offers a gift receipt, be sure to include it with the package, thus making a return much simpler.

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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling, and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan, and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call
866.530.9869 or visit

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