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Farnoosh Torabi’s Holiday Spending Tips

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With just a couple of days left to complete your holiday shopping, you’d better make sure you know how to shop smart and aren’t wasting time and or money. Here are some quick tips that can help get you through those last few stressful hours.

DO: Make a Plan Overspending during the holidays is easy to do when you don’t have a plan. Take a few minutes and plan for everything you will need to spend money on this season from gifts to decor to travel. Mint.com can help you figure out how much to safely spend, without a holiday hangover in January.

DO: Ditch the Department Store Off-price retails like TJ Maxx and Marshalls are bigger than ever. They offer the same on-trend brand name merchandise found in department stores and boutiques for 20-60% less. You’ll find everything from designer clothing for the entire family and to gourmet food items and kitchen utensils to small electronics, books and DVD’s along with the hottest toys.

DON’T: Shortchange the Garbage Man This year, according to the NRF (National Retail Federation) American families will spend an average of $682.74 on holiday gifts. However the majority fear this is not enough leading 70% of consumers considering cutting their list with the service sector and garbage man (54%) topping the list.

DO: Be Efficient Cutting back does not mean you have to go without. Instead find ways to save doing all the things you love to do during the holiday season. Try investing in decorative lights that have energy saving light bulbs; consider purchasing an artificial tree that can be used every year or if you prefer a real tree, scale down the size this year to save money.

DON’T: Sacrifice Quality It may seem like you’re getting a deal when discount stores offer multiple items for a low price. But many times those items were manufactured to sell at that low price and the items will not stand the test of time. Instead spend a few dollars more to invest in quality – it will save you money down the road.

DO: Have Happy Holidays

Farnoosh Torabi is a personal finance author, expert and television personality. In 2008 she published “You’re So Money – Live Rich Even When You’re Not,” a tell-all for young adults searching for financial independence and can currently be seen on SoapNet’s new series “Bank of Mom and Dad,” coaching young women struggling with piles of debt.