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Citizens Financial Group making it Citizens Bank offers spending tips/savings tips for consumers throughout the holiday shopping season

PHILADELPHIA (November 16, 2010) - Black Friday traditionally signals the start of the holiday shopping season, but this year many retailers have already started their holiday sales. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend 2.3 percent more this holiday season than last year. 

Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is offering holiday spending and budgeting tips for consumers to help during this busy shopping season. Citizens hopes these suggested guidelines will help consumers manage their money and prevent the accumulation of debt, which can hurt household finances.  

“While there are signs of an improving economy, we’re expecting the holiday shopping season once again may be difficult for some families,” said Daniel K. Fitzpatrick, Citizens Bank’s President and CEO for Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. “Everyone should take some time to plan ahead and take a more disciplined approach to spending. That will pay off all year long.”

Citizens Bank suggests the following guidelines for holiday shopping:

  • Set up a spending budget – Know your spending limits and avoid impulse purchases. Be realistic and keep your budget manageable.
  • Make a list – Write down all the people and organizations you want to recognize during the holidays, setting a spending limit for each name on your list. Bring the list with you when shopping and stay within your budget.
  • Don’t bring all of your credit cards – Choose one or two cards to shop with and leave the remainder home. You are more likely to overspend when you have all your credit cards with you.
  • Use credit cards wisely – Try to pay off the credit card bill every month. If you can’t pay off the card each month, use a card that has a low interest rate. Also, use cards that give back to you (offering reward points, airline miles, etc.).
  • Use debit cards – Consider paying with a debit card rather than a credit card because the money is deducted from your checking account right away and there will be no bill to pay later. A debit card is also safer than carrying cash. Some banks, such as Citizens Bank, have debit cards that give back to the consumer by offering reward points that may be redeemed for gift cards at popular retailers, brand name merchandise, free travel and more.
  • Write down credit and debit card information – Make a list of all your account numbers and phone numbers for your cards in case your wallet is lost or stolen. Keep this list in a safe place should you need to notify the bank or credit card company.
  • Consider layaway plans – Some retailers are reviving layaway plans for people that want to purchase merchandise, but cannot pay in full immediately. Be sure you understand the terms and are not charged fees or interest. And be careful – the payments may be deferred, but you will still have to pay them.
  • Start a savings plan – Consider beginning an automatic savings account for next year. Pay yourself first by automatically putting money in a savings account geared for holiday shopping next year. Citizens Bank’s GoalTrack Savings can help you to create a plan, track your progress, and get rewarded when you reach your goal.

 

About Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania

Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania is a state-chartered bank with dual headquarters in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. It has 385 branches and 959 ATMs throughout Pennsylvania. It also operates 15 retail branches and 104 ATMs in southern New Jersey and a commercial loan office in Virginia. It is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $136 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I.

Citizens Financial Group, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,500 branches, approximately 3,800 ATMs and approximately 22,600 employees. CFG’s two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in about 40 states. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc).