5 things NOT to do while shopping this Holiday Season

The shopping frenzy from Black Friday got us thinking.

While area shoppers seemed to avoid problems associated with crowds and safety in the Tri-States, there are a few things to think about. So, here's some advice on getting through the sales and finding your bargains without losing your shirt--or more:

ClearPoint Credit Counseling (formerly Consumer Credit Counseling) has a tips list of 5 things to Not do at the mall.

Credit Counselor Linda Rudnick-Smith says:

1. Do not shop without a list. A list will keep you focused on what you're buying, for whom, and will help keep you within budget.

2. Do not carry your checkbook, or more credit cards than you need for the specific shopping trip. For two reasons ... it will reduce your temptations to binge spend, and it will limit the damage if your plastic or a check is lost or stolen. Another precaution: make a copy of the front and back of all cards and put it in a safe place at home, along with the # to call if there's a problem.

3. Do not carry large amounts of cash. See #2 above. Plus you minimize the chances of being a pickpocket's victim.

4. Do not shop while in a hurry, or at the last minute. You'll spend more than you should, just to mark the item off as 'done.' Rudnick-Smith says a more efficient way to do this is to take a survey trip, to get a feel of what's out there, at what price, then take your notes home, organize and go back to buy.

5. Do not pile new debt on top of old. If you're still paying for last year's holiday binge, you'll go even more into debt. Your friends and family will understand if you need to cut back, especially if your job or personal finances situation has gotten worse. Consider writing a note, or offering 'services' (bake or make something, or promise to do chores) instead of 'store bought.'

(Laura Hand with WSTM, contributed to this story.)

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