Finance professional encourages shopping smart, to avoid New Year’s debt

Many stores like Khol’s make sure shelves are fully stocked and sale signage is at eye level.
Published: Dec. 23, 2022 at 1:23 PM CST
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - Holiday shopping is in full force as we inch closer to Christmas. And one thing that isn’t at the top of shoppers’ lists is a budget.

“We’re in the last week before Christmas, and so, as you start to think about, ‘How do I budget for Christmas,’ or ‘What is my plan?’ You might even want to start thinking about Christmas of next year,” said University of Southern Mississippi finance professor, Mike Morgan.

Morgan says, while a holiday budget isn’t ideal, it’s good to have. Not only does it create a plan, but also helps avoid a debt hole ahead of the New Year.

“The people we buy presents for, they probably wouldn’t be thrilled to find out that we went into debt to buy them a present that they may not even use,” Morgan said.

Many stores like Khol’s make sure shelves are fully stocked and sale signage is at eye level.

“Fortunately, we’re in a very good position as fair as freight and merchandise this year as compared to previous years,” said Khol’s store manager Bo Kilsby.

Kilsby says his goal is to always save customers’ money, especially during the holiday season.

“On top of our sales this week, there’s an additional 20% that customers can save now through Christmas Eve, and for customer convenience, we’ve gone further, and we’ve extended our store hours. We open at 8 a.m. to midnight,” Kilsby said.

Shoppers like Frederick and Lakentra Arrington are always on the lookout for deals and say they’ve actually spent less than expected.

“I actually started with Black Friday when they had the whole month really of November Black Friday sales,” Lakentra said. “I was going online and everything and went for Cyber Day and all of that.”

“Yeah, she’s the queen of finding coupons, discounts, yeah,” Frederick said.

Morgan says deals are always good, but it’s best to stick with things you know you want for sure.

“If it’s for a specific thing you already wanted to buy, then that’s a great thing, but what they’re trying to do is get you to come in the store and buy all the other stuff that’s not on sale,” Morgan said.

“So it’s not a bad thing, but if you didn’t actually want that item in the first place, it’s probably not that great a deal no matter what the price is.”

Reports show credit cards can be the leading cause of debt, but for Carmen Lee, she avoided that route thanks to buy now pay later options.

“I do use the Sezzle. Big purchases, it’s good to have,” Lee said. “You make a payment. Two weeks later, you make the same payment, and you do it for four payments, no interest or anything, and it just kind of spreads out that big one-time payment into four small ones.”

Morgan says to be careful with those “Buy now, pay later” options. Always make sure money is in your account for payments and don’t overdo it.

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