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Consumer Checklist

December 20, 1990|LEO SMITH

For some shoppers it is too late. The season's holiday spree has already put a severe dent in the old budget. But there are folks who haven't completed their splurging yet.

For those who can still avoid this seasonal near-bankruptcy, here are several shopping tips from the pros.

* Don't let your heart overpower your head. "Try as much as possible to take emotion out of the decision," said David (Tony) Kirkpatrick, a certified financial planner in Ventura.

* Don't purchase something without giving it some thought. "Never buy something the first time you walk in the store," Kirkpatrick said. "Walk out and think about it. Come back the next day."

* Turn holiday shopping into a game. "Sit down and write down who you'll be giving gifts to," said financial adviser Ruth Rockey of Westlake Village, "and then decide how much you choose to allocate to the holiday gift plan."

And some tips for next season:

* Do next year's holiday shopping right after this Christmas. "You can get things for 50, 60, 70% off right after Christmas," said Kirkpatrick. "I can get $500-$600 suits for $200."

* Buy gifts throughout the year so there isn't a big crunch in December. Henry Nevarez, a Christmas shopper from Oxnard, said he starts shopping several months before the holidays. "You find something on sale, pick it up and save it for Christmas," he said. "That's how you save money."

* Open up a holiday bank account.

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