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How to avoid holiday shopping debt this year

QUINCY, IL (WGEM) - Several stores are starting to offer Black Friday deals because of COVID-19.

Now before you add an item to your shopping cart online, you may want to ask yourself if you have a financial plan in place.

In 2019, the average American took on over $1,300 in debt during the holiday season according to a MagnifyMoney study.

Advisors at Schlipman Wealth Advisors in Quincy said the economic downturn from COVID-19 has people worried about money, but that may actually help people avoid debt.

Advisor Cody Hildebrand said people are thinking more about money and have been using strict budgets since the start of the pandemic.

“Something I think is a little different this year with everything going on, credit card debt has actually decreased from April to July,” said Cody Hildebrand, Schlipman Wealth Advisors financial advisor.

Hildebrand said he gives clients three keys to avoiding debt, especially around the holidays.

“I think one is your budgeting. Definitely being prepared early and knowing how much you want to spend each week during the holidays is very important. Also, shopping early, so you’re not scrambling last minute to buy gifts and spend extra money. And also looking out for sales early," Hildebrand said.

Hildebrand said online shopping can help people stick to their budget by giving them more options in price to choose from.

Hildebrand added that more people are also refinancing their mortgages because of record low interest rates, which has also lifted some debt that people were already struggling with.

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