Tips for a safe and sane holiday shopping season | The Republic
News from The Republic:

The holiday shopping season is in full swing. Hordes of us are expected to be out scouting the malls and neighborhood boutiques or hovering at our computers to shop online over the next few weeks.

To ensure you have a safe-and-sane holiday shopping season, we’ve gathered tips from consumer experts. Here’s a look:

— Don’t blow the budget

Before leaving home, make a list of everyone you’re shopping for and the amount you plan to spend. One tip to keep your holiday spending sane: Carry cash; when it’s gone, you know you’re done shopping.

Other ideas: Pick names among family members or have a “Secret Santa” program so everyone is buying for one relative, not dozens. Instead of buying gifts for every friend on your list, host a potluck dinner or dessert night as a festive, less-costly way to celebrate the season.

— Mind the plastic

If paying with plastic, designate one card for holiday spending. If you spread your p…………… continues on The Republic

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There’s lots of advice out there telling you how you can rein in your own holiday spending. Here’s a list of top tips. The Quartier Petit Champlain is illuminated with Christmas lights in Quebec City Dec. 22, 2010. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

You read the headlines and the entire world seems to be mired in red ink these days.

Some of the biggest countries in the world are staggering under huge debt loads, as are Canadian consumers, according to the Bank of Canada and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty.

But, cheesh folks, it’s the holiday season. What is a poor gift buyer to do?

The U.S. just had its biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, and spending is way up from last year for the first few days of the official holiday season, even though real income there is stagnant.

Spending is expected to be higher in Canada, too. A Royal Bank of Canada survey foun…………… continues on

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