I regularly hear from military service members or their spouses who are considering or pursuing a divorce, asking for advice about various issues. My number...
[Some content in this article courtesy of USAA.]
It's that time of year again: the fast-paced month of shopping that precedes the holidays. And despite the economy's recent ups and downs, all indications are that if anything, holiday spending will go up this season, in no small part due to smarter mobile apps to aid the shopping process.
According to a recent survey commissioned by USAA, consumers plan to buy more gifts as their sentiment toward holiday budgeting has become more positive in 2012 when compared to 2011 (53 percent vs. 45 percent). For the third year in a row, fewer holiday shoppers plan on cutting their holiday spending and creating a budget. In 2010, 40 percent of shoppers reported plans to scale back, compared to 31 percent in 2011 and 24 percent in 2012. And 61 percent planned on budgeting for their holiday purchases in 2010, compared to 57 percent in 2011 and 55 percent in 2012.
"In addition to the decrease in the number of shoppers cutting spending and budgeting, nearly half plan to use their credit cards to make holiday purchases," said JJ Montanaro, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERâ„¢ with USAA. "With only one-third planning on paying their holiday credit card balances in full immediately, it appears shoppers will be less cautious with their holiday spending. However, using a goals-based planning calculator that can be accessed no matter where they are can help shoppers set realistic boundaries and stay on track throughout the holiday season."
This year's survey findings underscore the growing trend of mobile shopping with 56 percent of respondents planning to use their mobile devices as a tool for comparison shopping, downloading coupons, searching for availability in stores and making purchases. According to a recent survey, consumers spent more than $20.7 billion shopping using mobile devices in 2012 and tend to spend an average of $10 more per purchase using their tablet.
"While mobile shopping can help uncover deals, it's also so convenient that some people may be tempted to overspend," said Montanaro. "Shoppers need to ensure they include all types of purchases â€“ whether mobile or in-store â€“ in their holiday budget."
Holiday Buying Issues: A Few Reminders
Late delivery, shipment of wrong or damaged items, and hidden costs are common home shopping complaints which can become magnified during the holiday gift-buying season. Keep these tips in mind as you're making your purchase.
Safety Tips for Shopping
According to the FBI, here's a few extra precautions you can take to make holiday shopping safer for you, and avoid cyber fraud:
For a comprehensive list of legitimate military discounts for the holiday season and all-year round, visit the Military.com Discount Center.