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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

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5 Ways to Budget for Holiday Shopping

November 12, 2015 12:54 am

It’s not uncommon for shoppers to get a head start on purchasing gifts for the holidays, but shopping before the December rush is fast becoming the norm, according to American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC), a nonprofit organization.

“More people realize that waiting until December to start your their holiday shopping can result in extremely high credit card balances that are impossible to pay back,” says ACCC President and CEO Steve Trumble.  “Spending small amounts on holiday gifts from each paycheck can prevent overspending and over-relying dependence on credit cards. It can also make the total amount spent on holiday shopping rather manageable.”

There are many ways shoppers can start saving on holiday spending:

1. Do Your Research – Shopping before Black Friday has its perks. You have time to do research before you hit the stores. Call around and go online to find the best deals. You should also try to consolidate your shopping trips to a few stores to cut down on transportation costs. 

2. Set a Budget and Save – Know your budget, make it non-negotiable and then save enough to afford that budget. A financial calculator can help you determine how much you will need to save on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis to save a certain amount for holiday spending. That way, you can start putting money aside now for holiday expenses.

3. Debit Instead of Credit – Use debit instead of credit cards. A debit card automatically forces you to spend only what you have, and allows you to avoid paying interest. It also prevents you from creating an enormous bill that may take months to pay off. 

4. Open a “Holiday” Account – Many banks have a “Christmas Club” account intended to help people save for the holidays. Consumers can start putting money into the account each month, and the bank only allows you to withdraw money from it on a certain date so you are not tempted to take out money prior to the holidays. 

5. Make a List and Check It Twice – Plan a list of gifts ahead of time for people and buy them before the holiday rush. One way to do this is to carry your list with you. All too often shoppers will get distracted by flash sales and “bargains” and end up with a trunk full of items that were not even included on the shopping list. By simply carrying a list with you, whether it is hand-written or on a smartphone, shoppers can save themselves hundreds in unwanted and unnecessary items. 

Source: ACCC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Report: Smart Home Tech Slow to Catch On

November 12, 2015 12:54 am

Greater technology in the home may appear inevitable, but a recent report by The Demand Institute reveals that a truly “smart home” is still a ways off for the masses. The report, “Smart Home Technology: Not Ready for Prime Time (Yet),” indicates that most expect newly constructed homes in the next five years to include smart home technology, but just about a third say they are eager to incorporate that technology into their homes.

“Smart home products need to demonstrate clear value and solve unmet consumer needs before most will make the investment,” says Louise Keely, president of The Demand Institute. “Some of these products do meet that bar, but many still feel these products are gimmicky, even though 64 percent concede that they really do not know much about smart home technology.”

Findings from the report show that smart thermostats, wireless speakers and home security and monitoring systems are currently the most popular and well-known smart home products, but that interest in other smart home products, like smart lighting, door locks and other categories is also strong.

“Consumers are starting small when it comes to smart home technology,” says Jeremy Burbank, vice president at The Demand Institute and leader of the American Communities Demand Shifts Program. “The typical smart home product user has just one or two products. Many of these products still cost several times what traditional models do, and a lack of industry standardization and interoperability means most consumers will add smart home technology slowly.”

The Demand Institute is a non-advocacy, nonprofit think tank jointly operated by The Conference Board and Nielsen.

Source: The Conference Board

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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