Avoid Holiday Shopping Scams

By Darryl Izzard

Ok, I did it! I gave up my night, swarmed through the sea of automobiles which were packed sardine-style in the parking lot, and stood in line with the masses for hours to get my 3 flat screen TV\’s and the latest digital camera gadget on the market during the big Black Friday after Thanksgiving Day sale! Hoping to save hundreds of dollars I was excited about getting a head start on my Christmas shopping list and taking advantage of unbelievable deals that I presumed were only good for the day. In my mind it was a shopper\’s haven, but in reality now I\’m asking myself several questions. Did I really need this stuff? Are retailers really giving away deals? Did I really have the money to spend? Is this whole “Black Friday” notion a big marketing scam? Really, why would retailers want to loose money? Better yet, why would they advertise about it? Well, my thought is that Black Friday is more about boosting the economy than it is about giving consumers good deals to help make Christmas shopping easier or more affordable. Beware, so you do not fall into the trap of emptying your bank account and filling theirs during this crazy holiday shopping season!

Here are a few tips to consider that will help you financially. First, don\’t fall prey to the pressure of the “I gotta get it now” mentality. Any product made has a fixed manufacturing cost that retailers mark up and pass along to you, the consumer for their benefit, not yours. So, don\’t feel pressed to spend your last dime chasing a deal.

Secondly, pay attention to pricing for items you really want all year long, not just during the holidays. This will really help you find the best value and make it easier to within your budget. Retailers know you are more vulnerable during the holidays.

Lastly, be realistic with yourself and with others about where you are financially. Don\’t overextend yourself, placing unnecessary stress on yourself after the holidays that will take months for you to rebound financially.

If you traditionally are a “Christmas list“ shopper, this year when you make your list, also give yourself a smaller spending budget and commit to not exceeding it. When the money is gone, it\’s gone! Remember, your real friends and love ones know that it\’s not about the gift, but the giver anyway. So that takes away the pressure to overspend during this season. Above all, spend quality time with each of your significant friends and family members. Retailers turn up the marketing during this season to meet their 4th quarter sales goals. They really can care less about your financial stability. So, be financially smart, don\’t let the holiday madness drain you or your bank account. Enjoy yourself!