Suffolk Federal Offers 5 Useful Tips for Smart Holiday Shopping

In between trips to the mall, online and in-store purchases and charitable donations, it might be easy to wonder ‘Where has my money gone?’ during the holiday season. Suffolk Federal is sharing a few tips to keep in mind so you can effectively manage your money, spend within reason and protect yourself during this special time of the year.

1.)   Create a budget. Be realistic about your expenses and set limits for how much you can afford to spend during the holiday season. Don’t limit this number to just presents – separate by category factoring in shipping costs, greeting cards, wrapping paper, gift exchanges at the office or with friends and favors or decorations for any parties you may be hosting.


2.)  Pay by credit card when online shopping. With extra protection for most purchases including returns, choose this option at checkout verses another form of payment such as a debit card or PayPal account. Unauthorized charges can also easily be disputed on a credit card statement.  For example, as a benefit of membership, Suffolk Federal offers members CardLock and CardValet, which place complete debit and credit card control, fraud mitigation and security in members’ hands. When used together with Suffolk Federal’s Digital Wallet, members receive an extra level of security when it is needed most. 


3.)  Compare prices and search for cash back offers. If you’re shopping for a big-ticket item such as electronics or home appliances, check prices and scan for any additional discounts or coupons before heading to the store. Also, many retailers may have specials which will only appear in their own apps so don’t forget to check your smart phone or mobile device before you make your purchase.  If shopping online, consider browser add-ons including Honey, which automatically apply any potential promotional codes at checkout to ensure you’re always getting the best deal.  You may also want to consider reputable sites such as Rakuten which provide cash back deals and special rewards for purchases of products or services.


4.)  Prevent gift card fraud. If purchasing a gift card as a present, make sure it is from a trusted company rather than a third-party like eBay or Craigslist where it can potentially be counterfeit. Always inspect the packaging to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with. Make sure to keep the receipt for proof or purchase should the card become lost or stolen.


5.)  Research charities before making a donation. While the holidays remind us to count our blessings and give back to others, make sure any organization you are donating to is real, reputable and has a positive reputation for giving back. Scammers often prey on people’s emotions and generosity during this time of year. Make sure your hard-earned donation dollars are making a difference and going where it matters most.

“Making smart holiday shopping decisions ensures that consumers do not spend more than they may have at this time of year, cut into their savings or rack up an abundance of debt,” said Ralph D. Spencer, President & CEO of Suffolk Federal. “By planning ahead and keeping a watchful eye over finances, it is possible to avoid adding additional stress and to enjoy and keep the magic in the holiday season,” he added.

For more tips on developing smart money habits, visit

About Suffolk Federal

Suffolk Federal is a not-for-profit cooperative financial institution chartered in 1967 by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), and is owned and operated by its members. The volunteer-directed credit union has assets in excess of $1 billion, 10 branch locations and more than 60,000 members. Suffolk Federal offers all members incredible benefits like free checking, free online banking, low interest rates on home and auto loans and much more. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, attends school or regularly conducts business in Suffolk County, NY as well as immediate family members of current membership. To learn more, visit, call 631.924.8000 or visit any Suffolk Federal branch today.