Holiday Survival Guide - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

ConsumerWatch

Holiday Survival Guide

While they may not be up at your house, the decorations are already hanging and presents are under the tree at Peachtree Mall.

The holiday shopping season is in full swing....and by this point, most consumers have some sort of idea about how and when they plan to spend their money this year.

"For sales, and we go on the Black Friday also," says shopper Gail Rape.

"Shop early...I beat the crowds," says shopper Tiffany Mills.

The Hunt family takes planning a step further.

"Pretty much to make a list, go by the list, try to stay within the budget you set for each family member," says Steven Hunt.

And the Hunt's are on to something...

Shoppers are often time pressed and cash strapped...so here are some tips to avoid that:

First, time your buying...avoid midnight madness sales and shop early in the morning when crowds are small and merchandise hasn't been picked through.

Next, do some comparison shopping online. Sites allow consumers to sort by price and even download coupons.

Be leery of bank gift cards...they often come with fees and expiration dates.

Make sure you get a gift receipt...Purchases made during November and December are often eligible for extended returns and exchanges.

Be sure your gift is wanted...it's tough to exchange d-v-d-s and other electronics that have already been opened.

Don't forget to apply for those rebates...it may seem like a hassle...but it puts extra money into your pocket.

Avoid waiting until the last minute for shipping...priority can be pricey.

And simply say no to those extended warranties...most products don't break during the first three or four years...and you can often extend the manufacturer's original warranty for free for up to a year with most gold and platinum cards.

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