LAS VEGAS - This year, shoppers are expected to spend an average of $689 on holiday-related items. Early estimates show a 15 to 20 percent jump in sales during Cyber Monday and a 15 percent increase in sales during Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
Whether shoppers pay with cash or credit remains to be seen.
"I'm budgeting items for Christmas, for family, for grandchildren, great grandchildren too," said shopper Doris Lauer. "I would like to put some of it on credit cards and some of it on cash. I don't like to pay high interest rates."
Consumer Credit Counseling Service President and CEO Michele Johnson says many shoppers get caught up in the moment and spend more than expected. She says if you pay with a credit card, consider what an item will cost if it takes two to three years to pay off.
"Sit back and think whether that item is worth the long-term cost, not just that immediate cost, and whether that item is still going to be part of your household at that point in time that it's paid in full," she said.
Nevada leads the nation in late credit card payments. Johnson says poor credit ratings could eventually lead to financial ruin or bankruptcy. Her advice is to make a list, plan what you have to spend and what you want to buy, and don't impulse shop. For people who are struggling this holiday season, Johnson suggests something simple.
"There are so many ways to show that you care and celebrate the season without necessarily spending a lot of money, and I think we all need to step back and think about how else we can show our appreciation and our love with actually spending our hard earned cash," she said.
If you have to use a credit card, credit experts recommend you pay it off in three to four months. Over the past year, 8 million people have stopped using credit cards entirely, either by choice or because banks closed the accounts.