Posted on November 30, 2010 at 8:32 AM

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, this year the shopping season is starting strong. For the entire weekend, the number of shoppers in stores or on Web sites nationally is up by 10 percent compared to last year according to the National Retail Federation.

Whether you’ve started holiday shopping or not, we have some spending tips from a local expert. Michael Boone, CFP, CFA is the owner of MWBoone and Associates in Bellevue. Boone specializes in financial planning, and here’s what he tells his clients.

First develop a plan. Thoughtfully put together a budget that even includes items like how much the wrapping paper and postage will cost. Second, bring that list when you shop and write down what you are paying for each item to help you stay on track.

Finally, ask yourself, are you going to pay with cash or credit cards.

Boone recommends cash.

"When you spend a credit card you leave home with the same piece of plastic you come back home with plus a lot of bags of stuff, so you actually feel richer. Research shows people feel richer when they do that," warns Boone.

Boone says if you do pay with a credit card make sure you pay that bill by January.

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