The holiday season is not only a time for giving, but it’s also a time for taking. Yes, it’s sad but true. While you may be thinking of ways to spread holiday cheer, there are those among us who are plotting and scheming on how to separate you from your money and all of your holiday purchases.

But don’t fret!

Here are some tips to keep those sticky fingers from ruining your holiday spirit and your holiday shopping.

1. Opt For A Debit Card or Credit Card Instead of Shopping With Cash

There are a lot of financial pundits that recommend that you shop with a cash-only policy. The cash-only policy is recommended to protect you from overspending, which I theoretically agree with.

But when you walk around with a lot of cash, you run the risk of losing it or it being taken from you. My recommendation is that if you plan to go out and shop, please use a debit card with money that you have already earmarked for shopping. If you are extra responsible and possess a credit card that issues reward points, use your credit card for your purchases and pay it off in full when you get home. I repeat, don’t wait until the bill comes at the end of the cycle, pay off the balance immediately and move on with your life.

2. Create “A Holiday” Wallet

Find a wallet that you normally don’t use and make it your “holiday” wallet. In this wallet, keep the bare minimum: one or two pieces of identification, your credit or debit card, coupons, and your shopping list(s). Keep your real wallet, with all of your other important documents at home for safekeeping.

3. Go Shopping with Company and During The Day

You are less of a target when you shop with someone and during the day. Thieves are less likely to do their dirty work with the light of day on your side and the threat of a positive identification.

4. Take A Big Bag With You

When doing heavy duty shopping, you run the risk of not only looking like a “bag lady,” but also losing or leaving a purchase somewhere without realizing it. To ensure that all of your purchases make it to their final destinations, bring one or two bags from home that are big enough to hold everything that you buy in a centralized place.

5. Pay Attention When At the Register

The only job that you have, once you get to the register is to ensure that no funny business transpires. Pay attention so you know how much you are being charged, that the cashier returns your credit card, debit card, or correct change, and that you leave with what you bought.  Refrain from texting, talking, or any activity that could distract you.  Your beau, cousin, sister-girl, and mama can wait until you get home to talk!

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