Tips from Clackamas Federal Credit Union

Despite national economic news of declining jobless claims, the Northwest economy continues to face challenges that will likely affect consumer spending through the holidays. However, there are strategies consumers can use to keep spending reasonable and be safe while they do it.

Clackamas Federal Credit Union offers the following safe spending tips for the holidays:

Make time your ally — The reason to start sooner rather than later is that when you delay, you pay. At last minute, you have to settle for something and it might cost more than you wanted or planned to pay. After Christmas is a good time to shop for next year’s presents. You can find some great bargains right after the holidays. Starting early also gives you more time to find the right gift and avoid impulsive decisions.

Pay off debts quickly — If you made holiday purchases using credit, use a lower-interest card and pay off this debt as soon as possible. Don’t borrow more than you can repay in several months. Remember that credit card debt is relatively expensive. If you only make the required minimum monthly payment, you may never pay off the debt.

Be smart about gift cards — The rules today significantly restrict gift card expiration dates and fees compared to several years ago. But those who give or receive a gift card should still read the fine print. If you get a gift card, use it sooner rather than later to avoid forgetting about unused balances on the card or forgetting about the card altogether.

Pay attention to the return policy — Some stores have tighter policies. Pay attention to the return policy when you make a purchase. Keep receipts and note time limits, restocking fees and other factors that may affect your recipient.

For more information about Clackamas Federal Credit Union, visit

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