The holiday season is a festive one, but it’s also the time of the year for holiday shopping and peak consumer spending.
Just as they do the rest of the year, credit card users rely on their cards to complete transactions and to finance purchases. This year, keep in mind these credit card tips while holiday shopping:
Because it’s so easy to process a transaction with a credit card, cardholders can forget about how much they are spending. In fact, credit card users need to always be conscious of their balance and the consequences for over spending.
Cardholders need to set a limit on their holiday spending that is consistent with their personal finance goals. For example, people who are carry a balance should restrain their spending sufficiently to keep paying down their balance.
Those who are not in debt should limit their purchases so that they can continue to pay their monthly credit card statement balances in full and on time.
Credit card users who will need to carry a balance on their credit cards can avoid interest charges by opening a new credit card account with a 0% APR promotional balance transfer offer.
These offers, which can extend for six to 18 months, can apply to new purchases, balance transfers, or both.
Since balance transfer offers almost always require a 3% balance transfer fee, credit card users can avoid that fee by receiving a promotional financing offer on new purchases, rather than performing a 0% APR balance transfer later.
Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all of the other holiday promotions, it can be easy to get too excited and make unnecessary purchases during your holiday shopping.
Remember, even at a steep discount, an unnecessary purchase is still a waste of money.
The checkout counter might be the worst place to make an important financial decision, yet nearly every retailer will offer shoppers a discount with their store credit card application.
It’s hard to say no to these discounts, but they are rarely worth the hundreds of dollars of points, miles, and cash back offered by other, more competitive credit cards. In addition, retailer’s credit cards often feature higher interest rates and less attractive promotional financing offers.
Your loved ones will always appreciate a personalized, thoughtful gift more than a generic, but expensive one.
Take the time to consider what gifts people will truly appreciate, and don’t try to impress others just by spending extravagantly. Both the gift recipient and your budget will thank you.
It can be too easy to get into trouble with your credit cards while doing holiday shopping. By using your credit cards wisely, and keeping your budget in mind, you can enjoy the holiday season and keep your finances intact in the new year.