The pitfalls of panic shopping

NEW YORK (CNN) – Shoppers still have about 2 weeks to check off items on their gift lists, but it won’t be long before the real pressures of holiday shopping kick in.

If you thought black Friday was the biggest shopping day of the year, think again.

Six of the top ten shopping days of the holiday season are yet to come, according to retail research firm shopper-trak including December 20th, the Saturday before Christmas, forecast to be the busiest of all.

A time crunch plus crowds can lead to impulse purchases.

Beverly Harzog, personal finance expert, “The last thing you want to do is panic and go out on a spending spree and buy things that are outside your budget. You could still be paying for these things next summer, and that would be a depressing state to be in.

Personal finance expert Beverly Harzog says it’s never too late to chart a holiday shopping budget. Just do it before hitting the mall, “Hop online, and do some research, and you’ll be able to find the best prices and compare prices and compare stores without ever having to leave your home.”

It may even be best to complete purchases online. If it’s too late to have items shipped, consider retailers with an in-store pickup option and consider the long-term consequences of those quick impulse purchases.

“Keep in mind that if you do go over-budget, you are going to be paying for this for months. It could even impact family vacation next summer. So just try to think ahead and try to stay within parameters,” Harzog continued.

Because holiday debt isn’t only about an item’s price tag. It’s about interest payments too.

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