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TMCNet:  Personal Finance Expert Erica Sandberg Offers Tips for a Sane Holiday Shopping Season

[December 08, 2013]

Personal Finance Expert Erica Sandberg Offers Tips for a Sane Holiday Shopping Season

ATLANTA --(Business Wire)--

It is hard to keep sane and stay within budget during the annual holiday season. To keep from blowing the bank, personal finance expert Erica Sandberg suggests you spend smart this season and focus on how you:

Before venturing into the stores this holiday season, develop a shopping plan and remember the best ...

Before venturing into the stores this holiday season, develop a shopping plan and remember the best plans start with knowing your budget.

  • Plan: Make a budget and stick to it.

"A good shopping plan starts with doing things in the proper order," said Sandberg. "Budget should always come first and paying bills should never be a struggle because you spent too much on presents. And don't forget to include travel, decorations and holiday meals as part of your holiday budget."

When planning your holiday list, remember to budget first. Don't forget to include all your holiday spending in your plan including food and travel.

  • Purchase: The best deals aren't always online.

"Increasingly, shoppers are going online to complete their lists," Sandberg said. "Online shopping is great for comparing prices, but traditional in-store shopping still has a lot to offer. There's something very festive about shopping in the store during the holidays. And these days, stores are working hard to combat the online shopping trend, so you may find your best deals inside the store."

"The trends high on this ear's wish lists include electronics, wearable technology and jewelry," she continues. "Tablets and gaming systems are dominating electronics spending. And there are some interesting cameras out there this year that open up creative possibilities that you can't get with your smartphone camera."

Trends this year include wearable tech, tablets and gaming systems. Do your research and take advantage of both online and in-store deals.

  • Protect: Consider purchasing a protection plan.

"You may have been offered an extended service contract or protection plan. You may also have been advised against purchasing these plans, and heard that they aren't worth the money. I've heard those reports too, but protection plans offer a great deal more than you might think," said Sandberg. "Electronics and jewelry are expensive…and they are just the type of purchases that are most vulnerable to breakage. We've all experienced the frustration of devices that mysteriously stop working after the manufacturer's warranty ends, and all too often the manufacturer's warranty won't cover the problem. That's when a good protection plan can really come in handy."

"There are a number of protection plan providers out there. It's a good idea to make sure the provider you choose is highly reputable with a long history of protecting consumers, like Assurant Solutions for example," she added.

Protect the gifts that matter to you and the people you care about. Choose an experienced protection plan provider. And make sure you understand all the features and benefits the plan has to offer.

For more information about holiday shopping and protection plans, visit or

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