sealPurdue News

November 1997

Keep Christmas credit problems from stealing holiday spirit

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Silver bells and silent nights aren't the only sounds of Christmas. An all-too-familiar sound of Christmas in the '90s is the ring of a cash register and that special phrase, "Charge it!"

Barbara Rowe, consumer sciences and retailing specialist in the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, says there are several ways to keep control of your credit during the holidays.

If you need to use a credit card for Christmas shopping, she suggests that you limit your spending to one card. This makes it easier to track spending and stay within a budget. She also reminds you to make sure both the pricing and the receipt are correct -- Christmas is a busy time for retailers, and mistakes are easily made.

Don't go to the mall without a gift list. Rowe says it's easy to get caught up in the festive spirit and come home with gifts you hadn't planned on or gifts that are more expensive than you'd planned. And refrain from shopping when you are tired, when your resistance is lowest.

She says mail order catalogs are a reliable way to shop for Christmas. You can shop at home, away from temptation. In addition, merchandise is easy to exchange.

Rowe says some of the most precious and memorable gifts can't be purchased in stores. Gifts of an experience or time together make wonderful presents. Consider tape recordings of grandparents and their life remembrances or even a book of pictures spanning someone's lifetime.

CONTACT: Rowe, (765) 494-8316; e-mail,

Compiled by Beth Forbes (765) 494-9723; e-mail.
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; e-mail,

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