Plan your 2018 purchases now, while you still can. Here’s how.

Behold, the buying calendar.

It’s the ultimate consumer tool. If you’re planning to spend money in 2018, you need to get organized. Why? Because businesses are. They know when you’re likely to buy and are constantly trying to manipulate you with sales, a barrage of ads and armies of highly trained sales associates who don’t take “no” for an answer.

Can Budget charge a “processing fee” a year later?

When Kate Gunnell’s daughter was touring the University of Washington campus, her family focused on fees for tuition, room and board, books, and the various activities that she could participate in as an incoming freshman — but not car rental “processing fees.” One year later, Gunnell is wondering why Budget is trying to charge her $30 for a ticket she doesn’t even remember receiving.

Strong-armed into insurance, then handed the keys to a lemon

If you look up the phrase “jerked around” in the dictionary, you might see a picture of Savannah Wilson next to a Budget logo.

I’m only half-kidding. Her recent trip to the Caribbean island of Martinique with her fiancé was a disaster because of Budget, she says. And after you read what happened to her, you might agree. Unless, you work in the car rental industry.

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