More than half of Americans surveyed say they will go into the holiday shopping season having not saved money for it, which could lead to starting next year with troublesome additional debt and potentially harming their credit health.
A recent Google Consumer Survey conducted by TransUnion revealed that 64.3% of Americans surveyed report they will not save in advance of holiday shopping and an additional 14.6% will only save in October, November and December. For many, this could mean using current credit cards, opening new lines of credit or taking on extra debt.
Excessive inquiries for new lines of credit, higher balances compared to credit limits and large amounts of debt can all be harmful to a consumer's credit health.
"Consumers should plan ahead now by making a list of those they plan to purchase gifts for; determining the total they will need to save between now and the holiday season; and setting a portion aside out of each paycheck," said Julie Springer, vice president at TransUnion. "That way, when the holidays arrive, consumers can use their saved money, enjoy a more relaxed holiday season -- and enter 2014 without the burden of unmanageable credit card debt."
TransUnion provides the following tips to help consumers save now and spend later during the holiday shopping season:
Make a List and Check it Twice: Make a list of those individuals that you plan to buy holiday gifts for this year, along with a dollar amount you plan to spend or the item you plan to purchase. Stick to this list when it comes time to buy holiday gifts to avoid overspending.
Budget and Save: Review your list and calculate how much you plan to spend on holiday gifts this year. Divide that total you plan to spend by the number of paychecks you will receive between now and when the holiday shopping season begins. For example, if you plan to spend $600 on holiday gifts this year and will receive six paychecks between now and Thanksgiving, then you should try to set aside $100 from each paycheck to spend on holiday gifts.
Shop Now, Gift Later: Regularly check your local advertisements and circulars and if an item you plan to purchase for holiday gifting goes on sale, consider using some of the saved money to purchase it now and save it for the holiday season. By finding the item on sale now, you can save even more money on your holiday shopping.
Save for Yourself: Remember, not only does saving for the holiday shopping season help alleviate stress, but if possible, you should also save a portion of each paycheck to pay for any unexpected financial crises, such as a health emergencies, etc.