Credit Unions Look to Help Holiday Shoppers Stay on Budget

Economists are predicting a slight increase in holiday shopping this year. That will be a relief to retailers. But with the economy still weak, there's a risk consumers will wind up spending more than they can afford.

black friday shoppersConsumer sentiment has been on a rollercoaster all year, rising and plunging on developments on Wall Street and in Europe. It’s up at the moment, just in time for Black Friday. That makes Fred Becker, CEO of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, a bit anxious.

“We want people to recognize that part of what got us in the economic downturn was getting overzealous and spending more than we could afford to spend, and so we want to help consumers think about it before they go in a store.”

Becker recommends shoppers make a precise list of what they intend to buy before they go into a store, in order to stay on budget.

“At the same time, there’s nothing wrong with using a credit card and running up a bill, as long as you’re doing that intentionally.”

The National Association of Federal Credit Unions offers an online calculator to help consumers work out how long it will take to pay off their bills.

Bio photo of Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Business Reporter

Andrew Schneider joined KUHF in January 2011, after more than a decade as a print reporter for The Kiplinger Letter...