Valley shoppers say cash is king

FRESNO, Calif. This is the ideal time to give the credit cards a break. Shoppers say they will but sometimes that is easier said than done. By paying in cash shoppers can avoid a holiday hangover which comes from swiping your credit card a bit too much.

Becky Ingham of Madera said, "We set aside money and so that's what we're using. No charging."

An exclusive Action News poll conducted by Survey USA shows 75-percent of valley adults plan to either pay cash or use their debit card to buy Christmas gifts.

Martha Lucey is President of Clearpoint Credit Counseling. Lucey explained, "There are more people unemployed. There are more people on furlough days and so I think family budgets are stretched beyond their limits so a lot of families really have to cut back this holiday season."

Despite these tough times, shopping areas are still bustling with endless streams of people. Lucey said, "It's really easy to get caught up with the holiday spending spree so we recommend people, one, make a list and two, if you're going to pay cash, use the envelope method."

That is, put the amount of cash for one gift in a separate envelope to keep you from over-spending.

The Action News poll showed just five-percent plan to use their credit card and carry a balance. Fresno shopper Teresa Dunaway said, "We're all trying to be a little more responsible as far as not getting too much into debt."

A good plan because many families are saddled with growing credit card debt.

Lucey said, "A lot of cards have already made changes to the interest rate so it's more expensive than ever to use the credit card if you don't pay off the balance."

Lucey says if you are having trouble making minimum monthly payments on your credit cards, it's a good time to seek credit counseling.

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