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5 tips to steer clear of debt in holiday shopping

By DAVE CARPENTER — AP Personal Finance Writer

CHICAGO — Black Friday deals are starting early this year, and that means more pressure to spend, spend, spend.

As the holiday shopping season expands and retailers make impulse buys ever-easier via smartphone and otherwise, consumers have to be extra-disciplined to avoid money trouble.

Many are willing to indulge. The National Retail Federation forecasts holiday sales to rise 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion this year, a bigger increase than usual over the last 10 years. Shoppers are expected to spend an average $749.51 in November and December, with many shelling out much more.

Weak economy? What weak economy?

Unfortunately, many will take months to pay off the goodies they bought for loved ones or (shh) themselves at doorbuster deals and other special offers.

Among the potential debt traps for the unwary this year:

– Special Black Friday shopping hours actually begin on Thursday, Nov. 22, at major retailers, even as early as 8 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Ramping up the temptation level, websites tracking Black Friday sales have been sending emails with “leaked” sales specials since Halloween.

READ entire article via CHICAGO: 5 tips to steer clear of debt in holiday shopping | Personal Finance | Bradenton Herald.

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