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Press Room

Wisconsin CU League News Release - 11/15/12

Stay tuned this Monday, Nov. 19, for the results of a holiday spending and consumer debt survey from our national trade association (CUNA) and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). They surveyed 1,000 consumers to get a read on their spending plans.


Holiday Spending Tips from Wisconsin's Credit Unions


Additional resources


View the online version of the Scorecard


View a PDF of the press release

View press release archive

Media contact

Christine Henzig
Director of Communications
(262) 408-6019



  • Make a Budget and a List. To avoid impulse buys, decide how much you can afford to spend and stay within that budget. Make a price list now of all gifts and other holiday items you plan to purchase.


  • Check It Twice. Make sure your list includes all the projects and activities that make up your holiday. It's easy to overlook expenses for holiday foods, party clothes, holiday décor and postage. Decide what’s worth it.


  • Comparison Shop. You can easily save more than 10 percent on most items, sometimes much more, by comparing prices at different stores. The Internet and smart phones have made comparison shopping that much easier. But be careful online. Purchase only from secure sites and review emailed statements for accuracy.


  • Make Time Your Ally. When you delay, you pay. At the last minute, you have to settle for something, and it might cost more than expected. After Christmas when items go on clearance is a good time to shop for next year’s presents. By starting early, you’ll have more time to find the "right" gift and avoid impulsive decisions.


  • Pay Off Debts Quickly. You’ll spend less if you pay in cash. If you must use credit, use a lower-interest card (you’ll often find lower rates on credit union cards) and pay it off as soon as possible. Don’t borrow more than you can repay in several months. If you only make the minimum payment, you may never pay off the debt.


  • Open a Christmas Club Account. These low or no interest accounts provide a practical way to save over time. Ask to have funds transferred automatically from your checking to this account every month. Regular saving reinforces your good budget intentions. Find credit unions you can use at


  • Check your Supplies. You may have more wrapping paper, ribbons, unused cards and gift boxes from last season than you realize. Use up those supplies first to limit the amount you’ll have to buy this season.


  • Understand Layaway. Know the payment schedule and read the fine print. Be realistic about how these payments fit your spending plan and what you can afford. Understand policies including time between payments and schedule of payments, service fees, late and cancellation fee policies, refunds and exchanges.


  • Be Smart with Gift Cards. Read the fine print about expiration and fees. If you get a gift card, use it sooner rather than later to avoid forgetting about unused balances on the card, or forgetting the card altogether. You might also use any card you’ve received to shop this year. They can help reduce your out-of-pocket expenses


  • Pay Attention to the Return Policy. Don’t be surprised by some stores’ tighter policies. Pay attention and keep receipts and note time limits, restocking fees, and other factors that may affect your recipient.


  • Find Low- or No-Cost Ways to Celebrate. Draw names to limit the number of people for whom you purchase gifts; give homemade items; make your own gift wrap; organize a potluck to share meal costs.

Please contact chenzig@theleague.coopfor results of a holiday survey on consumer spending/debt that will be available Nov. 19


Credit unions are cooperative financial institutions that are owned by their members and do not have stockholders. Because they are not-for-profit, they return earnings to members via more competitive rates of return on accounts, lower interest on loans, lower fees and improved services. Around 2.3 million Wisconsin residents belong to credit unions, of which nearly half are open to the local community. Find a credit union to join by visiting The League’s REAL Solutions Scorecard explains how credit unions returned more than $201 million to their members in 2011 and served their communities regardless of profit. It is available at


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