If you’re hoping to enjoy the holidays but are worried about debt piling up as the shopping
season gets underway, you’re not alone. A recent survey found that 71% of Americans are
stressed about their expected spending this holiday season.
However, through careful money management, you can survive the holidays unscathed. Here
are some tips to keep your credit in check this season.
1. Create a Budget
To ensure you don’t overspend during the holidays, create a holiday budget and limit your
spending to a minimum. If you must add additional people to your list, think about getting
creative with gifts and cook them a baked good or make something crafty.
As you work through your budget, make sure you know how much you already owe to lenders,
as well as how much you’ll need to pay your monthly bills.
Categorizing your holiday spending can also help you get a better overall picture of your
available funds for gifts versus other items, like food, gift wrapping, cards, postage, decorations,
2. Watch Your Credit
Be mindful of your spending throughout the season by tracking your purchases. You can do this
with a spreadsheet, by keeping receipts, or by using a budgeting app. Watching your purchases
can help you keep your credit utilization ratio (which is how much available credit you have
versus debt) low, so your credit score doesn’t take a hit.
You might also want to take extra precautions against identity theft when making online
purchases by using a virtual credit card number.
3. Start Early and Shop Sales
The earlier you start shopping, the easier it will be to spread out your buying across a long
period of time, so it doesn’t have as much impact on your wallet. Of course, shopping events
like Black Friday and Cyber Monday can offer big savings if you shop smart. Additionally, you
can often find discount codes for online buying, and don’t forget you can always look for
4. Credit Counseling
Seeking credit counseling to help you manage your finances during the holidays can be a helpful
tool. A credit counselor will help you create a budget and offer resources and education to help
you manage your money. And if you already have credit card debt, they can provide long-term
goal planning, so you can head into January with a plan for repayment.
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