It’s a season of giving and sharing. Tis the season for holiday cheer and magical experiences. It can be easy to get swept up in the holiday season of shopping, parties, and expensive travels. But, if you’re not careful, your credit card could take a big hit this year. Don’t write Christmas checks that the New Year can’t pay for. Be smart this holiday season and make the most out of your finances with these helpful tips.
Establish a budget.
It’s so easy to spend money today. All you need to do is click a button or swipe a card. That’s why it’s really important to create a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you can afford to spend this year and then separate the funds into different sections like gifts for family and friends, holiday activities, party supplies, and dining out. Make a list and constantly update it to ensure you’re staying within your budget.
Keep credit cards to a minimum.
Do you have more credit cards than you know what to do with? That might be a sign that you have too many. If you can’t keep track of all of the credit card statements, you might miss a payment and your credit card could be dinged. Try to limit most of your purchases to one or two main cards.
Also, try to avoid the pleasant cashiers who offers a 20 percent discount when you apply for a store credit card. It may be tempting to save on your purchases right now, but store credit cards often have high interest rates and are easy to forget about. Opening a store credit card may not be the best way to save money during this holiday season.
Keep track of your holiday spending and report it on your budget. Pay attention to your finances so you don’t have any surprises after the holidays. And don’t let your credit card balance reach higher than 30 percent of your credit card usage. Also, keep track of your credit card statement to make sure you don’t fall victim to identity theft.
Don’t miss any payments.
You might be tempted to spend all of your December paychecks on holiday shopping and then pay the minimum on your credit card balances and loans. But don’t! Don’t spend your hard-earned money on frivolities you don’t need and then skimp on your responsibilities like paying your rent.
Ebenezer Scrooge described this season well on the Muppet Christmas Carol when he said, “Christmas is a very busy time for us, Mr. Cratchit. People preparing feasts, giving parties, spending the mortgage money on frivolities. One might say that December is the foreclosure season. Harvest time for the money-lenders.”
Don’t give those Scrooge money lenders out there the satisfaction of charging you high interest rates and ruining your credit score. Avoid giving yourself a holiday hangover by being smart and not going overboard. And be wise with your finances so you can come out on top with a higher credit score and better finances.
It’s especially important to pay your bills and make your rent payment on time during the holidays. You can build your credit by paying your monthly rent on time with RentPlus. If you keep up with your payments and try to pay off some of your debts, you could actually come away from the holiday season with a better credit score than before the season started!