FORT LAUDERDALE, FL--(Marketwire - Dec 19, 2012) - With less than a week before Christmas, only half of U.S. consumers who are planning to buy holiday gifts have started shopping, according to market research company NPD Group Inc. ConsolidatedCredit.org advises Latinos to evaluate their finances before rushing to the mall and making impulse buys.
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), consumers will spend an average of $749.51 on gifts, decorations, and greeting cards, up from last year's $740.57. Consumers are expected to spend a total of $586.1 billion this holiday season, according to the NRF.
Howard Dvorkin, CPA and founder of ConsolidatedCredit.org, warns consumers that waiting until the last second to go holiday shopping can threaten consumers' financial stability.
"Procrastinating shoppers not only risk not finding the gifts they were looking for, but they are in danger of overspending and incurring credit card debt. These consumers end up paying for gifts six months or more after the holidays are over," said Dvorkin.
Latinos who already have debt should be especially careful with their spending, Dvorkin said. According to the NAACP, 79 percent of Latinos carry credit card debt compared to 54 percent of Caucasian households.
Dvorkin's last minute shopping tips are:
- Designing a quick and effective plan before going holiday shopping is essential. Since time is short, assign a gift for each person and choose the stores that offer the best deals. Keep in mind that most stores will close earlier than usual on Christmas Eve.
- Some individuals just love to buy presents. Select a couple of friends who enjoy going shopping and ask them to pick up some presents or help with the gift list.
- E-gift cards can be the perfect solution for those consumers who are running out of time. After all it's hard to choose presents that people actually enjoy, and gift cards give individuals the flexibility to purchase what they truly like. Visit giftcards.com or giftcertificates.com to select different retail stores and card designs.
- During the holiday hustle and bustle it is hard to determine why we purchase presents for our loved ones. Some questions to consider before making a purchase are: Will the person enjoy, use and appreciate the gift? Could I find this gift, or a comparable gift, for less money somewhere else?
- For those consumers who just won't step in the mall during the holidays, a magazine subscription can be a great gift option. Most magazines sell subscriptions online at very affordable prices. If shipping takes a long time, wrap a current copy of the magazine and write a letter saying that the next magazine will be arriving soon.
For information in Spanish visit http://espanol.consolidatedcredit.org, http://www.facebook.com/ConsolidarCredito or call 1-800-774-0141.
About Consolidated Credit:
Consolidated Credit, founded in 1993, is one of the nation's largest credit counseling organizations in the country and has helped over 5 million people with financial issues. Their mission is to assist families throughout the United States in ending financial crisis and solving money management problems through education and professional counseling.