Holiday shopping tips to help keep spending low

As the holiday season approaches, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling is arming consumers with some shopping tips so that they can take advantage of all the discounts offered by retailers.

For instance, before heading to stores, NFCC advises consumers to shop online first. This will help consumers find the best discounts quickly, enabling them to avoid wasting time hunting for the best deals.

While shopping, NFCC says consumers should have a plan that details what they plan on buying and how much they intend to spend. Sticking to this plan will help prevent consumers from paying more than they should and going into debt.

Spending a little extra may be tempting for consumers, however, as many credit card companies offer incentives — such as no interest balance transfers — by meeting certain spending levels. NFCC cautions consumers to be careful of these offers, as they may not be able to pay off the debt when the bill is due.

Consumers should also review their financial histories during the holiday season. Inaccurate or unfair credit reporting marks may be negatively affecting their credit reports.