Citizens Bank offers holiday shopping and spending tips for consumers

December 21, 2007 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
December 21, 2007 - PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Citizens Bank is offering spending and budgeting tips for consumers during the busy holiday shopping season. Citizens Bank hopes these suggested guidelines will help consumers manage their money.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm of the holiday season and overspend without realizing it,” said Greg Kirwan, Senior Vice President of Retail Banking for Citizens Bank. “It isn’t until January, when the credit card bills and bank statements come in, that people often realize they’ve spent more than they can manage. But planning ahead can avoid over-spending.”

Citizens Bank suggests the following guidelines for holiday shopping:

• Set up a spending budget – It should be realistic and manageable. Know your spending limits and avoid impulse purchases. For next year, consider depositing money into a savings account each month to pay for end-of-year holiday presents.

• Make a list – Write down all the people and organizations you want to recognize during the holidays and set 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 – You are more likely to overspend when you have all your credit cards with you. Choose one or two cards to shop with and leave the rest at home.

• Use debit cards – It may be better to pay with a debit card rather than credit because the money is deducted from your personal 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 merchandize, free travel, and more.

• Use credit cards wisely – Try to pay off the credit card bill every month. Otherwise, use a card that has a low interest rate. Also, use cards that give back to you (offering reward points, airline miles, etc.).

• Write down credit and debit card information – Make a list of all your account numbers and phone numbers for your credit and debit 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.

About Citizens Financial Group, Inc.
Citizens Financial Group, Inc. is one of the 10 largest commercial banking companies in the United States ranked by assets and deposits. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and, through its subsidiaries, has more than 1,600 branches, more than 3,300 ATMs and more than 24,500 employees. Its two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 13-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, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in about 40 states. CFG provides financial products to individual, small business and commercial banking clients. Specializing in full-service product packages, CFG offers checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, home equity loans, mortgage financing and more. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). For more information, visit CFG’s Web site at