Tips on how to shop but drop holiday debt
Cash is king for budgeting
’Tis the season for more shopping. Each holiday people spend hundreds of dollars purchasing gifts for their loved ones. In the midst of the holiday rush, consumers often fail to stay abreast of their personal finances and fall prey to extensive use of credit cards. According to Dun & Bradstreet, people spent 12-18 percent more on gifts, when they paid with their credit cards instead of cash.
Although there isn’t much that can be done about the hustle and bustle that the season brings, the following tips will assist in ensuring that you use your credit wisely, and do not come out in excessive debt.
Shop smart. Create a holiday budget and set an amount for each gift that you intend to buy. This will help you to steer clear of overspending.
Earn rewards. Use your debit card for holiday purchases. Many banks allow consumers to earn reward points for purchases. You may be able to use those points for gift or two.
Monitor your credit. Credit-card fraud increases during the holiday season, so pull a copy of your report for free to ensure that no one has stolen your identity and used your credit unlawfully.
Avoid online scams. Fraudsters will contact you via e-mail to obtain your information for credit-fraud purposes. Do not share confidential information and ensure that you password-protect all banking information.
Use credit cards for large-item purchases. Buy large-ticket items such as furniture or electronics with credit cards. Have a plan to pay off the purchases within 30 days.
It is essential to remain thoughtful of your credit and personal finances during the holiday season. Understand your credit needs and solutions so that you make the best credit decisions for your financial future. For more tips on how to use your credit wisely, visit www.wellsfargo.com/smarter_credit.
Michelle Thornhill is senior vice president and African American segment manager for Wells Fargo in Charlotte, N.C. As a public service, Wells Fargo provides free and fun financial education programs without commercial content.
After winning what was described as a “razor close” election for California attorney general in 2010, Kamala Devi Harris and her team have been busy tackling issues as wide-ranging as truancy, transnational gangs, Medi-Cal recovery and mortgage fraud in a state so large that she sometimes flies six planes a week to cover it all—from her air-conditioned Sacramento offices to the air-conditioned tunnels in Calexico designed for trafficking guns, drugs and humans under the border.
In February 2012, a joint state-federal settlement was reached with the country’s five largest loan servicers—Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo—to addresses a pattern of unfair and predatory mortgage-servicing practices. The terms of the settlement indicated that as much as $25 billion in relief could be provided to distressed borrowers and direct payments to federal and state governments. While $25 billion is a significant number, the most important number is the amount that will reach your community.
I was thinking to myself a while ago that you don’t get in life what you deserve. You get what you negotiate. Have you have ever settled for less than what you deserved? Me too. I’ve found in my career, and in my personal life, that negotiation is truly an art form. I’ve learned from those experiences, and I’d like to share with you, in this limited space, a systematic approach that you can use to get what you want in most negotiations.
Kudos to state Attorney General Kamala Harris. She was a real champion for California homeowners this time around. She hung tough, played her cards well and walked off with the biggest slice of the monetary pie for Californians in the recently completed foreclosure mortgage deal struck between the Obama administration and the banking industry. She took the path less traveled, held out for a quantifiable, enforceable deal until the end—and got it.
Anyone entering the West Coast Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center first saw the imposing banners featuring the two forces behind the event—Natalie Cole (CEO) and David Miller (COO)—hanging overhead observing the goings-on like watchful parents. Then they took in the panorama of the event—aisles of vendors and sponsors on each side—on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.