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Hawaii Business Offers Finance Tips for the Holidays

November 30, 2011, 4:10 PM HST (Updated November 30, 2011, 5:00 PM) · 0 Comments
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By Wendy Osher

File photo by Wendy Osher.

Hawai`i consumers buying gifts for the holidays can manage their stress by planning a budget and tracking their spending

The tips are just two of a list compiled by the Hawaii Collectors Association, a State Unit of ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals.

The Hawaiian Collectors Association offers the following personal finance tips for consumers this holiday season to help consumers avoid what could already be a burdensome debt load.

“Careful planning and active communication are important tools to effectively managing personal finances, particularly if a consumer is struggling to make payments on their current debt obligations or being contacted by a debt collector,” said Hawaiian Collectors Association President Kevin Shiinoki.

The following is a list of tips compiled by the association to help consumers this holiday season:

  • Plan and Budget: Holiday gift giving doesn’t need to break the bank; after all, it’s the thought that counts. Determine what you can reasonably afford, create a budget and plan for gifts, and stick to it. Keep in mind that purchases on credit will need to be repaid at some point in the future.
  • Track your Spending: Keep tabs on how much you spend to help stay within the guidelines of your holiday budget.
  • Protect your Identity: Be careful about giving personal information including a credit or debit card number over the phone and online. Monitor your accounts and immediately report any suspicious or unauthorized purchases to your bank or credit card company. Consumers should monitor their credit and are entitled to a free credit report each year at www.annualcreditreport.com. If you believe your identity has been stolen, contact your local police department.
  • Communicate with Creditors: Having trouble making payments on an existing debt? Contact the creditor to discuss alternative payment arrangements. It won’t eliminate your debt but it can make things more manageable.
  • Communicate with the Debt Collector: If you hear from a debt collector, avoiding a letter or call won’t make the debt disappear. The reason for the contact cannot be resolved without the ability to communicate; whether it’s to pay an owed debt, verify an alleged debt or confirm that the debt collector has reached the wrong person.
  • Consumers have Rights: Consumers deserve to be treated respectfully and have rights under federal and state law. For more information about consumer rights in debt collection or to ask questions, visit www.askdoctordebt.org. Created by the ACA International Education Foundation, it’s a free resource that does not require a log-in or sharing of personal information and is available in English and Spanish.

Additional consumer resources are available from the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Jump$tart.

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