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Tips to Keep Spending Under Control This Holiday Season

Charter One Bank, with ATM machines in area Speedway locations, offers the following tips.

This year, if you want to take advantage of the Black Friday deals, you don't even have to get up early on Friday morning. You can just have one or two extra slices of pumkin pie and head out to area retailers just after midnight.  Heck, Wal-Mart is opening its doors at 8 p.m. on Thursday for the shoppers who just can't take another minute of Aunt Martha.

But, all those great deals can still have a terrible effect on household budgets. So, the folks at Charter One Bank, who have ATMs in area Speedway locations, including 23901 Eames St., put together the following tips:

Build a budget – To manage your holiday spending, an important first step is to create a realistic budget that will help you to understand how much you can afford. When you understand your spending limit and what you want versus what you have budgeted, it makes it easier to avoid impulse purchases that can saddle you with holiday debt in the New Year.

Make a list – Create a list of all of the people you would like to acknowledge during the holidays and set a spending limit for each name. Check your list against your budget and make adjustments as needed. To stay within your budget, take this list with you as you shop.

Make a donation to charity – Instead of trying to find the perfect gift, consider making a contribution in someone’s name to a local charity. Many charities gladly accept gift donations that they will use to bring warmth and good cheer to those in need during the holidays.

Use your cards responsibly – You are more likely to overspend when you carry all of your credit cards with you, so use one or two credit cards when shopping and leave the others at home. Use a credit card that offers rewards, keep track of what you charge and pay your credit card bill in full each month. 

Write down credit and debit card information – Make a list of all your account numbers and phone numbers. Keep this list in a safe place in case your wallet is lost or stolen and you need to notify the bank or credit card company.

Comparison shop – Your money will go further if you use coupons, watch for sales, review advertised offers and compare prices at stores and online retailers. In addition to price, your comparison should include model, color, quality, availability and other factors that could easily turn your bargain into a disappointment.

Keep track as you spend – As you make purchases, keep a list of each gift and the amount you spent so that you can have a running total of all expenses. This will help you to quickly understand whether you are staying within your budget or need to make adjustments.

Start a 2013 holiday savings plan – Consider beginning an automatic savings plan for next year’s holiday shopping. Pay yourself first by automatically putting money aside in a savings account for the 2013 holiday season.

About Charter One

Charter One is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. It has 340 branches and 510 ATMs. It has 104 branches and 244 ATMs in Illinois. Charter One’s website is charterone.com.  

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