We all like a little fright this time of year, but not emerging from our wallets. Can you hear the creaking and the cackling coming from the dark depths of your pocketbook? OK, I'll stop with the silly metaphors. Gift your family with a Happy Halloween this year by keeping these five horrors from haunting you this season and in the season lurking just beyond October 31st. Ooops, I couldn't resist!
1. Halloween has become the kickoff to the Holiday Shopping Season - With Americans spending about $7.0 Billion on Halloween this year, as predicted by the National Retail Federation, Halloween has become the precursor to the crazy consumerism that is the Holiday Shopping Season. Don't be surprised if you see the Halloween displays come down and the Christmas displays go up at your local retailers. How to survive this horror? Come up with a budget and a plan, not a wallet full of maxed out credit cards.
2. Could be a season of identity theft and credit card fraud - Along with the Holiday Shopping Season it could find those that would try and take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers by stealing identities and credit cards. How to survive this horror? Be mindful of your credit card/debit cards. You never know how you can be a victim of identity theft or credit card fraud. As always, make sure you keep an eye on bank and credit card statements as well as your credit report.
3. Halloween spending is getting scary high - The National Retail Federation says Americans plan to spend $75 per person on Halloween costumes, decorations and of course, candy. This is not just a kid's holiday anymore as adults are spending as much as kids on costumes and pets are in on the action as well with $330 million being spent on pet costumes alone. Spooky, right?! How to survive this horror? Set a budget that's within reason for your family and avoid overspending with your credit card. The fun thing about Halloween is that creative, goofy, imperfect decorations and costumes are perfectly acceptable...think homemade and thrift store for unique options
4. Not paying attention and paying horribly for it - As the Holiday season begins and the frenetic pace picks up it's easier to lose track of spending, credit limits, and budgets. This can lead to missed payments, late fees, increase in rates or fees, and the worst horror of all: maxing out credit limits. How to survive this horror? Make a plan now of when and how you will keep track of your bills, statements, and budgets this season.
5. Lacking a plan for holiday credit and spending - The greatest horror this season is that you go into it without a plan of how much you will spend and how you will use your credit this season. I see so many people get in trouble with their credit cards this time of year. Yes, it's happened to all of us and come January we promise ourselves we'll do better next year. How to survive this horror? Well, here's your chance, we're early enough in the season that you can sit down now with your spouse and kids and plan your holiday shopping budget, activities; and plan how you will pay for all of it. Then, come January, you will be patting yourself on the back rather than kicking yourself in the rearend.
Happy Halloween to you and remember to keep these tips in mind so you are credit happy, not horrified this season!