Local News

Last Minute Shoppers Should Beware of Binge Spending

Posted December 22, 1998

— There are two kinds of Christmas shoppers. Those who plan have already made their list and checked it twice. Those who panic are just coming to grips with the fact that Christmas is Friday.

One type is naughty. The other is nice. So, now the rush is on to buy all of the gifts on your list or the one that you forgot. Waiting may cost you extra.

Retailers want to take advantage of the last few hours of holiday shopping. They were hoping for a four percent increase over last year. Now, they are looking at a two percent increase at best.

Retailers are pulling out all the stops, trying to get consumers to come in and buy, buy, buy. But a warning: Beware.

The "for sale" signs jump out at shoppers like neon lights.

"I'm spending now, but I'm worrying about it later. It happens every year. What can you do?" said shopper David O'Neill.

One financial adviser said view those ads as you would a caution light at a traffic signal. That's something many former credit card holders failed to do.

A cut of credit cards now make up a consumer counseling holiday wreath. Credit counselor Stephanie Culver says the term "buy now, pay later" could have a whole new meaning to shoppers throwing caution to the wind.

"It used to be that you only needed good credit if you wanted to buy a house or get another credit card. Now they check it for just about everything. So, your credit history tells a lot about you now," explained Culver.

But shoppers like Robert Jones live for the last minute shopping moments.

"It adds to the excitement if you just make a low-level, straight run through the mall and get it over with," Jones said.

If you are prone to binge shopping, take it from one shopper who got his shopping done early.

"Keep your money in your wallet and don't buy too much," said Durham resident Karl Suiter.

If you are among the people who still have to get out to the malls, here are some suggestions.

  • Give yourself some time to shop.
  • Keep in mind that most shopping areas or malls will not be open late on Christmas Eve
  • Stick to your shopping list
  • Pay with cash. It's far more difficult to break a $20 than it is to pull out that credit card.

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