Saturday, November 25, 2006

'Tis the Season

‘Tis the season of giving. In fact, the average consumer spends $700 around the holidays, so here are some tips on how to be a smart shopper. Plan ahead before you buy, avoid impulse purchases, and try not to buy things on sale that you don’t really need. Sales and coupons aren't gifts from the shopping gods, but ruses designed to get you into the store. One recent study found that coupon-clipping supermarket shoppers spent 8% more than the coupon-free. Use a debit card or cash if possible. Of the $400 billion that Americans spend each holiday season, roughly a third goes onto already-overburdened credit cards, according to the National Retail Federation. Websites that can help you plan your purchases are: Pricegrabber, Shopzilla; and Consumer Reports in the Library’s Masterfile database.

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