Tips for Smart Holiday Shopping

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In these tough economic times, smart shopping during the holiday season is more important than ever. Whether consumers are shopping online, by phone, or in stores, the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has some advice to avoid both debt and unneeded stress.

First, make as accurate and comprehensive a budget as possible – don’t forget to include the cost of incidentals like postage, gift wrap, and decorations. Then, learn to navigate holiday sale ads, make sure to keep careful track of your spending, and make the best of layaway opportunities.

To learn more about smart holiday shopping, see the consumer alert “Holiday Shopping, Circa 2008: Tips from the Federal Trade Commission,” at For more general information about wise money management and savvy shopping, visit

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.

(FYI holiday shopping)

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