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The 4th day of credit: Sales

By Janna Herron ·
Thursday, December 19, 2013
Posted: 5 pm ET

Whenever my mom pointed out that she saved money on her purchases because they were on sale, my dad would ask, sarcastically, "How much did you save?"

His point: My mom didn't save any money if she bought something only because it was on sale. That's the pitfall about sales: They convince you that you want something that you really don't. No time is worse than the holidays when a tongue-wagging discount could persuade you to buy that knick-knack that you could give to … well … somebody, who may or may not even be on your shopping list.

"Know what you plan to spend and on whom," says Cameron Thompson, director of marketing at SaveUp, an online rewards program that rewards Americans for good financial behavior. "Don't be lured in by special offers to spend more than what you were planning to."

But if you can avoid the temptation of buying something on sale just for the sale, the discounts and promotions running through the holidays may help keep you within budget and out of credit card debt.

More than a third of Americans said the most important factor in deciding where to shop are the sales that store offers, according to recent survey from the National Retail Federation.

"Consumers continue to concentrate on value," says Shane Holdaway, president of Capital One Canada. "They are stretching their money more."

What are the best holiday sales you've gotten so far this year?

Follow me on Twitter: @JannaHerron.

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