Petraeus offers early tips on holiday spending
Aug. 19, 2013 – CFPB Assistant Director of Servicemember Affairs Holly Petraeus last week blogged about how planning ahead can help servicemembers and their families save money during the holidays.
“You may not be ready to see Halloween candy at the drugstore yet, let alone think about December holiday celebrations,” Petraeus wrote. “But, preparing for your holiday spending now can help you avoid being served a heaping side of seasonal debt along with your plate of turkey and stuffing.”
Petraeus warned consumers to steer clear of store credit cards that can charge high interest rates after the initial offered savings, and she urged caution with gift cards that might have hidden fees, inactivity rules or expiration dates. She also reminded consumers to remember what their original plan for shopping was: “If you rush to a store sale because you can get a $3,000 TV for $2,000, you’ve still spent $2,000 on a TV. Was that really something you had planned to do?”
Above all, she warned against payday lenders during the holiday season. She suggested making a plan early to either pick a family member’s name out of a hat to control gift giving costs, or to consider homemade gifts. Petraeus also suggested keeping track of seemingly secondary spending during the holiday season, such as travel and food costs.
Petraeus’s webinar with NAFCU about her office and the financial issues facing servicemembers remains available on demand until next July.