Even though the U.S. economy has been unsettled over the past year, many Americans are still willing to spend a little more in order to make holiday wishes come true. But after the holidays are over, how can we reset the course to recovering financially in 2012?
According to Amit Batabyal, the Arthur J. Gosnell Professor of Economics at Rochester Institute of Technology, getting on track after the holidays has a lot to do with planning ahead. Batabyal offers these tips:
• Do everything you can to budget for the holidays and then try to stick to your budget for holiday spending.
• If possible, pay cash for your purchases and do not use credit cards unless you’re very disciplined about making payments and not just the minimum monthly payments.
• Try to avoid using department-store credit cards. Department-store credit cards tend to have the highest interest rates. If you’ve used them, try to pay off balances on these cards first.
• Transfer balances from high-interest credit cards to low-interest credit cards.
• Look out for lower prices. If possible, return previously bought items and then re-buy at lower prices.
• Particularly for online purchases, scout around for lower prices and, if available, use this information to ask for lower prices and/or free shipping at your preferred merchant.