Shopping during the holiday season can present unique challenges, with much to do and not enough time to do it. The temptation to go overboard can be strong, especially with some retailers pushing deferred billing or zero-percent financing for gifts, but a representative of the Better Business Bureau says consumers need to make lists and stick to limits on spending so they don't find themselves overwhelmed by debt next year.

BBB Investigator Bill Smith says if shopping online, be careful of the sites being patronized. Check the site's security settings and read the company's policy on sharing information with other sites. Pay with a credit card whenever possible, so you can challenge the charge in the event of a dispute, and obtain a tracking number for shipments.

Smith comments

Be sure to check a store's return and refund policy before you make a purchase. Although some stores relax their return policies during the holiday season, others may require that returns be made within a few days of purchase. Some only allow returns if a product is defective while others may give store credit instead of cash refunds. And another good suggestion is a simple one- keep track of your receipts.