For more information:
Andrew K. Johnson
Communications Manager/GreenPath Financial Wellness
(248) 488-0419

GreenPath Shares 4 Ways to Keep Finances in Check During the Holidays

GreenPath reminds shoppers to plan, research, read, and know

(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI – Dec. 9, 2011) - The National Retail Federation (NRF) released its 2011 Black Friday shopping survey results late last month, where a record 226 million shoppers visited stores and websites over the shopping weekend, up from 212 million last year, with total spending reaching an estimated $52.4 billion.

“However, an even more telling statistic is that the average holiday shopper spent nearly four hundred dollars over the weekend, up almost ten percent from 2010,” said Dorothy Barrick, financial counselor for GreenPath Financial Wellness, a nationwide, non-profit financial organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt and bankruptcy concerns.

“Despite some optimism in the increased spending this past Black Friday weekend, GreenPath encourages everyone to carefully budget their holiday spending this year,” said Barrick. “While credit cards can be very tempting to purchase gifts, they can result in a ‘holiday hangover’ in January, when the credit card bills come due,” she continued.

As shoppers dive head-first into the remainder of the 2011 holiday shopping season, GreenPath reminds shoppers to consider the following.

PLAN and think before using credit:
• Plan for purchases in advance. Make a shopping list.
• Ask yourself if you will be able to cover future monthly credit payments?
• Is the item you are considering a need or a want?
• Learn to say no and mean it. Remember, we cannot have everything that we want.
• Understand and recognize any weaknesses, when it comes to money. For example, if you know credit cards purchases are tempting, don't carry the cards with you at all times (but keep them in a safe place).
• If you know you have a tendency to over-spend at the grocery store for holiday meals when using a credit card, make a list to shop from, and pay in cash. Or, use a debit card attached to your checking account.
• Work toward the goals you have set. Does the credit purchase fit into your overall financial plan?
• If you are buying something for yourself, did you observe the "two-day rule?" (When you see something you really want to buy on credit, go home. If you decide after two days that it is still a smart buy and it fits into your budget, then go back and buy it.)

RESEARCH and shop around:
•Look at various stores and online for prices, sales, shipping costs and more. Search the internet for on-line coupons and special discount coupon codes.
•Get snapping! More stores display QR codes in-store and in advertisements, that you can snap with your smart phone, to get additional coupons and discounts.

READ and understand the contract, if you buy on layaway or open a store line of credit:
• Read the contract carefully.
• Don't rush into signing anything.
• Once a contract is signed, get a copy of it.
• Know the penalties for missed payments.

KNOW your total cost:
• Figure out total price when paying with credit.
• Make the largest payments possible.
• Buy on installment credit only after you have evaluated all other possibilities.
• Don't be misled into thinking small payments will be easy.

By observing these suggestions and planning ahead, you can help ensure a balanced 2011 spending season and avoid a credit card hangover in 2012.



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GreenPath Financial Wellness is a nationwide, non-profit financial organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt and bankruptcy concerns. Their customized services and attainable solutions have been helping people achieve their financial goals since 1961. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, GreenPath operates more than 55 branch offices in Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Vermont, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona and Wyoming. GreenPath also delivers licensed services throughout the United States over the Internet and telephone. GreenPath is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). For more information, visit