Holiday Shopping Myths -

Holiday Shopping Myths
By Darla Sitton and Wendy Griffith
CBN News -- Christmas shopping can be expensive and even overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be.

A recent Visa survey found that the average American spends about $1,200 for holiday gifts and entertainment. It turns out men spend about $100 more than women.

It's easy to go over budget this time a year. But according to consumer expert Jonni McCoy, there are several practical things you can do to make sure you don't break the bank. She debunks a number of myths.

Myth 1: You Don't Need a Plan

If you're going to stretch those holiday dollars setting price limits and knowing what you would like to buy may keep you from making costly mistakes.

McCoy says you should begin by making a list of everyone you plant on buying a gift for and how much you want to spend.

"Set a limit on how much you're going to spend for each person and make a total of the whole amount to make sure that's something that you can afford," she said.

Myth 2: You can Find the Perfect Gift for Everyone on Your List

You may need to lower your expectations.

"One of my favorite myths is going to take place in this mall today, and that is where people show up hoping to find the perfect gift for everyone on their list at a bargain price," said McCoy.

That may not be realistic. You might need to compromise.

Myth 3: Using Credit Cards is Dangerous

Using a credit card may be the smartest way to pay during the holidays.

"If you're very good at limiting yourself to your budget and what you can afford then that's great - credit cards are a safe way to go," said McCoy. "The credit card is a safer way to purchase things than with cash or your checking account because you have the security of the bank behind you and fraud protection."

Myth 4: Expensive Doesn't Always Mean Better

For example, Americans are expected to spend more than half a billion dollars on batteries this season. While a study shows there's no difference in lifespan of a battery between brands. Some cost less than the top brands and just as long. So when it comes to buying a brand name gift, you don't have to necessarily fork out the extra cash for a name brand product.

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