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Consumers Gear Up For Holiday Shopping Season
USA Today

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE (October 24, 2007) -- With the holiday shopping season right around the corner, retailers are preparing for this year's influx of holiday shoppers. Despite the current lull in the economy, consumers are expected to spend an average of around $816 this holiday season, according to the National Retail Federation. Many of those same consumers will make their purchases with credit cards, particularly when buying online.

Unfortunately, many consumers will also find themselves in steep credit card debt come early 2008, when the bills start rolling in. There are several things consumers can do before they hit the stores to ensure they don't rack up more credit card debt than they can afford, according to David McElveen, spokesperson for

"Consumers must ensure they use credit cards that work for them," he says. "They should shop around for credit cards that have the lowest interest rates and that offer them rewards, such as cash back or air miles, for the purchases they make. It's also imperative that consumers know the interest rate, the late fee, and annual fee of each of their credit cards.

In addition, because it is so easy to spend with credit cards, consumers are advised to set a budget. Setting a budget will help curb impulse shopping and ensure shoppers avoid going into more debt than they can afford.

Consumers should also keep all credit card receipts then compare them to the charges on the credit card statement. When an unauthorized charge is found, the credit card holder must immediately inform the credit card company in writing.

"Preparing for holiday spending ahead of time, by finding credit cards with the lowest interest rate and by budgeting, will ultimately pay off for consumers in the long run," McElveen says.

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