Money-saving tips for the holiday shopping season

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — This week the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear with Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales.  Some retailers like Amazon and Walmart are already offering Pre-Black Friday deals.  This year the National Retail Federation expects Americans to spend about 3.6 percent more money on holiday shopping than in 2015.

24-Hour News 8 talked to Todd Roberson with Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business about how shoppers can keep their budget on track during the holiday seasons.

Roberson said shoppers first need to come up with a plan and decide how much they want to spend on gifts this year. He recommends one or two months of discretionary spending.

“Start with tiers…organizing your gift-giving into tiers. For me, children would be at the top — then spouse, friends, colleagues and all of that. Then I would begin to price out the tiers and gift-giving depending on my total budget,” said Roberson.

Roberson also said he recommends people research and shop online.

“You can compare prices, you can set price alerts, so if something drops below a certain price…they’ll also usually sweeten the deal with free shipping, BOGO — buy one get one — and other enticements to get you to shop,” said Roberson.

Roberson said shoppers can use credit cards for holiday shopping, especially if they are eligible for reward points. However, if shoppers use credit cards they should not go over their designated spending limit and have a plan to pay off their bills.

“If you do that, you’re going to split those bills to two pieces for the holidays. You’ll pay a little bit of interest, but if you pay them off by Feb. 1 it’s not going to be egregious. What becomes egregious, is rolling them over month after month,” said Roberson.

Roberson said shoppers should not panic if they do go over their holiday budget.

“Relax. The sun will come up in the morning. If you overspent, that’s part of the holidays and we all do that and that’s part of why we enjoy the holidays…if you went a little bit over, remember that for next year and your planning of course, but also just make a commitment to have everything paid off by March 1st,” said Roberson.