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12 Credit Tips for the 12 Days of Christmas

With the holidays quickly approaching and the festivities in full swing, your budget is going to take a substantial hit. Whether it be a Christmas Vacation, holiday parties or gifts for your loved ones, the end of the year normally brings financial strain for most. In today’s blog, we are going to attempt to take away some of the stress of overspending with some helpful tips and tricks you can use to make life easier during the holidays.

 

Tip #1- Budget

I get it, with the current state of the world post Pandemic and the current state of the economy, budgeting is much easier said than done. Planning is not a sure-fire way to ensure that your finances will be healthy at the end of the year, but it can decipher how you will enter the new year. My fiancé loves to use this budget template when she wants to reevaluate finances and spending habits.

 

Tip #2- Make a List, Check it Twice

Appliances go out, things come up and surprise purchases appear. Along with budgeting, keeping a list with allocated emergency or “surprise” funds is always handy to have readily available when the unexpected happens.

 

Tip#3- Compare Prices

As the self-proclaimed “Ebay god”, price comparing is something I personally love. It is like a scavenger hunt for the best deal and occasionally, you can find amazing deals. Outside of online shopping, depending on the merchants inventory, small deals can really add up over time!

 

Tip #4- Choose Vendors Carefully

This one goes hand in hand with price comparison and I experienced this situation the other day. The Fiancé picked up a curtain rod from an “At Home” type store for a fairly high price. That evening I went to a supermarket and found the exact same rod for almost 15 dollars cheaper! Save yourself the hassle and do some prior research about your purchase. Be confident you are getting the best deal… and do not pick up a shower rod for $40!

 

Tip #5- Cash is King

It is exceptionally easy to over extend yourself financially during the holidays, but make sure your generosity does not put you in the red. To avoid overspending and high interest rates, try to purchase your gifts with cash. This also keeps you from spiraling into what I call “The Holiday Pit” from using your credit card for each purchase. This is when a consumer is unable to keep up with the interest rates they experience from their holiday purchases.

 

Tip #6- Save That Money

When I was younger, I would always freak out when Christmas time came because I never had finances to spare. With 12 months between the holidays, I learned to save a little bit every paycheck to help around the holidays. I went to my bank and added a “Christmas Funds” savings account and would toss $10 in ever pay check. Though it isn’t a huge amount, this left me with $240 to use for my holiday purchases.

 

Tip #7- Search for Sales

This tip ties into tip #3 closely. No matter if you shop online or venture out to a brick-and-mortar store, everywhere has sales going on at some point. Cyber Monday deals, Black Friday, Labor Day and Summer Sales are just a few ways you can find some amazing deals for the holidays…or for yourself!

 

Tip #8- Say No to “Buy Now, Pay Later”

During the holiday season, many retailers try to offer ways to make a purchase now and pay for it later. Be sure to be extremely cautious with these offers and read the fine print to make sure you are not penalized when making payments early or late. Also, keep an eye out for the interest rates associated with the tactic, it could end up costing you more than the product was originally listed for!

 

Tip #9- Track What You Spend

This one comes from the Fiancé (as she is extremely strict when it comes to list creation and management). If you need to use your credit card for purchases, make a list of your budget and deduct the purchase from the amount. This way, you can track how close you are to your maximum budged and you can make sure you are not overextending.

 

Tip #10- Know What You Owe

Piggy backing off tip number 9, keeping track and documenting what you owe can save you the headache of interest rates and overspending. Keep your receipts or keep a log of your purchases so that you can refer to them when budgeting and spending. Knowing what you owe before the bill comes in will help keep you out of debt and set you on track to eliminate any debt you may have.

 

Tip #11- Budgeting for the New Year

Assess how much disposable cash you have each month to pay down credit card balances and use the remainder toward holiday debt. Paying more than the minimum balance will keep you from having to combat interest rates and going upside-down on your purchases.

 

Tip #12- Do Not Overextend

The final tip is harder than it sounds but happens to many of us. Do not let your generosity be your downfall and don’t go overboard. With holiday deals and new ways to purchase, ask yourself, “does Grandma really need the 6 speed, Bluetooth enabled, Alexa compatible blender so she can smash protein shakes before leg day at the gym?” The answer is no, a regular blender will do the same thing and she will still be able to dominate at the gym. All jokes aside, flashy does not mean better…but it does mean more expensive!

For more information about your credit score, please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070.

A note from the author:The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

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