3 On Your Side
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Staying out of debt this holiday shopping season

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(Source: KPHO/KTVK) (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Let the holiday shopping madness begin.

"There's a spending frenzy that happens," said Kelsa Dickey, a financial coach who helps Valley residents manage their money and stay out of debt.

She tells 3 On Your Side that before consumers gear up for this season's shopping spree, there are some things to keep in mind.

Number one, make a budget and come up with a total dollar amount you want to spend on gifts.  

"You want to think about things like teachers or if you have a landscaper or a mailman you want to give money to or a charity or if you adopt a family," she said. "Having people over tends to be more money for food, so you want to allocate for that."

Once you have your budget, Dickey says designate a shopping day or two and don't buy anything else that day.

"So what I mean by that is if you're going to go to the store, don't buy some gifts as well as groceries as well as a shirt for yourself," she said. "Really try and go to the store and only buy gifts for the holiday."

Also, when making those purchases, use cash. Put those cards away.

"If you're using a debit card or credit card, you're probably not even asking yourself do I need this item," Dickey said. "Whereas if you have cash, if you get up to the cash register and you only have $100 on you, you don't want to spend $105."

Next, beware of knockoffs that may resemble the product you're looking for, she said.

"A perfect example is a TV," Dickey said. "You might get this great deal on a TV but it doesn't have the right pixels or it doesn't have the HDMI input or something like that, but you think you're getting a really great deal."

And finally, Dickey said comparison shop even when there's an advertised deal.

"Really ensure that the price you're getting is a good deal," she said. "A lot of the Black Friday deals will advertise that it's 50 percent off and you think you're getting a great deal, but really they may have increased the price in order to give you that discount."

Dickey said keep these tips in mind and avoid getting emotionally wrapped up with your purchases and you should stay out of financial trouble.

"You don't want to end the holiday season feeling as you have this huge hole to dig yourself out of because that puts a damper on any memories you have or just the holiday season in general, she said.

And here's another tip: Shop alone. If you shop with someone like a friend or family member, you'll likely fall into shopping peer pressure where you're pushed into buying something you otherwise wouldn't and that can cost you more money.

For more information on financial coach Kelsa Dickey, visit her website, http://fiscalfitnessphx.com.

Copyright 2016 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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