Whether it’s planning a party or vacation, or figuring out how to afford gifts for everyone on the list, the holidays cause more financial worry than any other time of the year. To reduce financial burden and stress during the merriest time of the year, Galperin outlines five ways to help Angelenos enjoy the holidays hassle-free.

  1. Set a budget. Review your earnings and expenses, and then decide what you can and are willing to spend on.
  2. Plan your shopping. Make a list and stick to it. This will keep you from buying unnecessary items and prevent overspending.
  3. Don’t buy it if you can’t afford it. PERIOD. It’s OK to just say no.
  4. Protect your identity. Monitor your accounts often, secure your devices, and notify your bank and credit card companies if you plan on traveling.
  5. Watch out for scams. This includes fake charities, online shopping schemes, fraudulent contests and sweepstakes. Don’t be a victim. Think before you click or give your personal information away.

Beware of senior scams

Seniors age 65 and over who likely have homes, retirement funds and excellent credit are especially vulnerable to holiday scams. Galperin urges seniors to keep an eye out for these common holiday cons targeting them:

  • Grandparent Scam. Scammers call and pretend to be a grandchild in trouble needing some sort of urgent financial help. To avoid getting scammed, hang up and contact your grandchild or their parents directly to make sure they are safe.
  • Fake miracle health cures. Seniors and people with chronic health conditions can easily be targets of fraudulent anti-aging and miracle health product sales schemes. These products may have harmful side effects, so it’s very important to consult your doctor before taking any supplements.
  • Funeral and cemetery fraud. Sadly, funeral planning is a business and some sales representatives heartlessly take advantage of vulnerable and emotional people. Make sure that you do your research, shop around, and read the fine print before you make a purchase or sign a contract.

These holiday financial tips are part of Controller Galperin’s ongoing efforts to provide the public with financial literacy tools aimed at protecting the financial well-being of all Angelenos.