HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Black Friday and Cyber Monday are right around the corner and that means you're probably ready to work on your holiday shopping.
And one banking expert from Redstone Federal Credit Union gives us some tips to ensure you're shopping and spending go smoothly.
Patricia Lloyd, Public Relations Coordinator with Redstone Federal Credit Union says, "the first thing I would recommend is to create that budget, because once you create your budget, that will actually help you determine whether you use cash, debit or credit card."
Prices have soared in the last year and that's why experts recommend a budget so you don't overspend and get into problems later on.
Now, once you have your budget in place, should you use cash, credit or debit?
"Research shows that when you use cash, you actually spend less money because it's that tangible. Handing over the money to somebody that sort of makes you think, oh, should I really spend that?," Lloyd said.
Well what about your debit card? That's money coming directly out of your checking account, so you want to keep your budget in mind before spending.
"Have you already covered the essentials that you need? Your rent or mortgage, your car payment, your utilities, gas," Lloyd added.
And finally, the credit card. The biggest thing to keep in mind is making sure you have the money to pay off your spending.
Lloyd shares, "if you can't pay it the next month or pay more than the required amount, if you let that drag on, you're paying double for those things that you've purchased."
But if you do know you can pay your credit card off quick, it can act as a safe-guard from scammers when shopping in stores or online.
"If there's fraud attached to that card, then your liability is so much less…with the debit card that pulls money directly out of your account, you don't really want to be putting your debit card information out for others to see," Lloyd said.
And if you notice incorrect charges on your bank account, make sure to go online and turn your card off and contact your financial institution right away.
"Happy shopping, [and] remember that the budget tells your money what to do and you want to always make sure you start with that."