Lifehack: Holiday money edition

Find out when to use credit or debit card

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It may seem to be a small problem, but at times it can have big consequences. What do you choose: this or that?

Up first, a financial dilemma: Which is better to use, a credit card or a debit card?

“If it’s at a restaurant or a department store or someplace in public where you have to worry about your card going away and somebody else swiping it, then I’m going use a credit card,” said Nancy Hecht, a certified financial planner with Certified Financial Group Inc.

With a credit card, the consumer is liable for only the first $50 of fraudulent charges.

“If you’re using a debit card, your own personal money is up for grabs,” said Hecht.

How much could you lose?

You could lose up to $500 if your debit card gets hacked or used without your permission.

“Five hundred bucks for people using a debit card may be 50 percent or more of what they keep in the account attached to the debit card,” Hecht told News 6. “That’s a big chunk of change.”

Next up: online holiday shopping versus in-store shopping. Which is best for you? Is it all about the low prices or is there more to the argument?

“The advantages of going into a brick-and-mortar store are that you can touch and feel an item,” said lifestyle expert Ariana Pierce .

With little overhead, such as a storefront or sales staff, online retailers traditionally keep their prices lower. But Pierce said, on some items, you may be surprised.

“See what the prices are online versus in the store,” she said. “That way, you can decide, 'Should I go into the store or should I shop online?'”

One clear advantage to shopping from the comfort of your home is, “24/7,” said Pierce. “It could be midnight, 3 o’clock in the morning, last-minute gifts – you can order any time of the day.”

One final bit of advice Pierce gave: Combine the best of both worlds -- shop online, but use a retailer that will allow you to return items at a store to avoid return shipping fees.

Our final comparison is a biggie: You’re thinking about getting a new car for the holidays. Which is better, buying or leasing?

“The advantage to leasing is lower monthly payments, because you’re never actually buying into it,” said Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor of . “You’re just buying for the depreciation. It starts out newer than it ends up at the end of that lease, so the amount of time you’re owning it is what you’re paying for.”

Wiesenfelder stresses, however, that with those lower payments come restrictions.

“There are limits on mileage, typically 10 thousand to 15 thousand miles per year,” he said. “The car has to be in great shape at the end of the lease.”

Wiesenfelder said one of the best reasons to lease instead of buy is tech.

“I do think leasing is probably wiser now than it’s been in a long time and that is because of the nature of the vehicles themselves. They change so quickly now,” Wiesenfelder said. “So people, especially young people, are considering leasing because it’s a lot more about getting the latest and the greatest, knowing that the only way to get that is to trade in and start over after a couple of years.” industry experts estimated about one-third of all new cars driven off the lot by millennials .

One last thing Wiesenfelder told us: Car leasing is catching on again. In 2015, were leases .

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