Money news: Protect yourself this holiday (shopping) season

Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday … don’t let it all turn into Debt December.

Thanks to the state Department of Financial Institutions, here’s a capsule look at some tips on how to shop smart this holiday season and avoid problems come the New Year.

•  Create a spending plan. Compile a budget for your gift buying. List the recipients. Stick to the plan.

•  Comparison shop. Compare prices. Look for coupons.

•  Don’t buy it if you can’t afford it.

•  Know a store’s return policy. Know what you’ll need to do should one of your gift-getters not be completely satisfied.

•  Keep receipts.

•  Avoid fraud. Don’t shop on a computer when that computer’s Wi-Fi might be compromised. Public networks are not necessarily secure.

•  When those credit card bills come due, check your statements for unauthorized charges or errors.

•  Pull your credit report. Visit

for more information.

•  Protect your purse, wallet and credit cards from pickpockets. Consider asking Santa for RFID protective sleeves.

•  Check your wallet or purse for the kinds of ID you’ll be carrying on your shopping expeditions. You probably won’t need your passport or Social Security card.