Helpful holiday personal finance tips for Oklahoma consumers

Posted on: 3:06 pm, December 14, 2013, by

holiday shopping

OKLAHOMA CITY - Tis the season for giving gifts to friends and family.

Holiday season can be a wonderful time but post-holiday season, when the bills come due, can be stressful.  Here are some helpful tips for Oklahoma consumers.

“Careful planning and active communication are important tools to effectively managing personal finances, during the holiday season,” said Oklahoma Collectors Association President Porter Morgan. “Good financial habits can help ensure a sound financial future.”

Plan and Budget: Holiday gift giving doesn’t need to break the bank; after all, it’s the thought that counts.  Determine what you can reasonably afford, create a budget for gifts to track spending, and stick to it.  Good budgeting and spending habits last a lifetime.

Understand credit and use it wisely: When used properly credit can be helpful but, if not, credit can become a difficult burden. Purchasing gifts using a credit card means they will have to be repaid at some point.  Know the terms and conditions of your credit cards; shop for low interest rates; make payments on time; and understand the ramifications of making a late payment or missing a payment.

Communicate: Having trouble making payments or getting calls and letters about a debt?  Don’t ignore them.  If you are having trouble making payments, contact the creditor to discuss alternative payment arrangement options.

Know your rights: Consumers have important rights when contacted by a creditor or debt collector.  For more information about working with a debt collector visit www.askdoctordebt.org. It’s a free resource that does not require log-in or the sharing of personal information.

Protect personal and financial information: Be careful about giving out information including a credit card information, bank account, or Social Security number over the phone and online until certain of the authenticity of the other party.  Monitor accounts and immediately report any suspicious or unauthorized purchases to your bank or credit card provider.