According to a recent poll from CreditCards.com, consumers in Pennsylvania and other states are planning thrifty holidays this year. For the most part, when it comes to gift-giving, Americans are apparently adopting the “less is more” approach. This is good news for Pennsylvania budgets and credit scores, as long as shoppers stick to their plans. While it’s always fun to surprise friends and family members with pricey gifts, it’s never fun when the bills come. Blowing your budget during the holidays may cause you to get behind on your regular bills. Or, if you overuse your credit cards, you might inflate your utilization rates high enough to drop your credit score.
In the worst holiday spending scenarios, Pennsylvania consumers rack up so much credit card debt that they miss payments, default, and wreck their credit scores. So, hopefully, these survey results are accurate, and Pennsylvania consumers are committed to realistic holiday budgets. After all, no one wants to ring in the New Year with a drained bank account and heavy credit card debt.
What a Recent Study Reveals about Pennsylvania Shoppers and Holiday Budgets
If participants responded truthfully to the CreditCards.com survey, 35% of Pennsylvania consumers will spend less than $50 on their priciest gift this year. Surprisingly, 12% of polled consumers claim that they aren’t buying any holiday gifts this season. Granted, 53% of Pennsylvanians plan to exceed the $50 mark for their most expensive presents. However, most consumers surveyed claimed that they would look for sales and online savings opportunities in order to stick to their holiday budgets.
The poll also reveals that less than 10% of Pennsylvania shoppers plan to purchase gifts costing $250 or more this year. This means that most recipients can rule out gaming consoles, Apple watches, new iPhones, and fine jewelry. Yet, polled consumers claimed that sticking to their holiday budgets isn’t their only motivation for cutting costs this season. Instead, most Pennsylvania consumers expressed interest in giving meaningful gifts that don’t necessarily cost a lot. These gift-givers believe that thoughtful gifts hold value far longer than the latest gadgets – which often become “outdated” within weeks.
How Pennsylvania Consumers Can Create – and Stick to – Realistic Holiday Budgets
With no plan in place, it is all too easy to get caught up in the spirit of the season and go way over budget with holiday gifts. This is why Pennsylvania consumers should take the time to create spending strategies and holiday budgets that won’t wreck their everyday budgets. For most shoppers, this is the only way to protect finances and credit scores into the New Year.
Make a list.
While you may want to purchase gifts for everyone you know, this is probably not a realistic goal. So, make a list of your closest family members and friends. As for your co-workers, suggest drawing names. This way, everyone can get in on the holiday spirits without wrecking their holiday budgets.
Decide on a budget.
Once you know how many people are on your list, determine exactly how much you want to spend. Then, once you have a number, stick to your budget no matter what. This should inspire Pennsylvania holiday shoppers to look for deals and discounts online and in stores.
Be careful with credit card purchases.
Some Pennsylvania consumers operate on a “cash only” basis while holiday shopping. This way, they have a finite amount of money to spend, and once it is gone, they know they are done. However, not all shoppers are comfortable with carrying around a large amount of cash. Also, you may have credit card rewards programs that you want to utilize during the holiday season.
Still, never treat your credit cards as a means to overspend. Even if you’re charging gifts, keep your budget in mind, and don’t spend more than you can afford to pay off when the bill comes. Otherwise, when interest charges kick in, you really will be over your intended budget.
How Pennsylvania Consumers Can Protect Themselves Against Identity Theft During the Holiday Season
In the wake of the Equifax data breach, a lot of Pennsylvania consumers are more aware than ever about the threat of identity theft. Of course, during the holiday shopping season, your payment information is likely more exposed, and this gives hackers and identity thieves more chances to strike.
However, if you take a few basic precautions, you can do a lot to protect your personal data and payment information. First, when shopping online, only make purchases on secure websites. Also, never share payment details while using public Wi-Fi. Then, when you are out in the stores, always guard your pin numbers carefully when checking out, and always keep your purse or wallet within site.
Finally, all Pennsylvania consumers should regularly check their financial statements and credit reports. For your credit reports, the easiest way to get free copies from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian is to visit www.annualcreditreport.com. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) entitles you to request these free credit reports from the three major credit bureaus once every 12 months.
Then, while going over your credit reports, if you see unrecognizable accounts or bogus transactions, file a police report immediately. Next, after obtaining a copy of this police report, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Pennsylvania. When you contact our firm, an experienced credit attorney will do whatever it takes to get fraudulent items removed. And get you clean credit reports – for free.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit in Pennsylvania After Identity Theft
Don’t let identity theft damage bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (856) 912-3511 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair After Identity Theft, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/pennsylvania/fix-identity-theft/.