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How to keep credit card debt down this holiday season

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2015 | Debt Relief

We are in the middle of the busiest shopping time of the year, and with so many great deals happening in stores and online, it can be difficult to avoid overspending. This time of year is when many people’s debt situation goes from bad to worse, especially for those using credit cards.

Before you let your holiday spending get carried away, consider these tips from for keeping your credit card charges in check:

If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. Your credit cards aren’t there to allow you to buy stuff that you couldn’t otherwise afford. The best way to use credit cards is to only purchase what you will be able to pay off at the end of the month unless it is an emergency expense.

Don’t turn to your credit cards for food and other disposable items. A big money management tip is to avoid paying interest on disposable items, or items that will no longer be around when the credit card bill arrives. That means it’s best to pay for food and dining out with cash.

Avoid taking out cash advances. If there was ever a time to turn to cash advances it is during the holidays, right? Wrong. Cash advances come with even higher interest rates, transaction fees and no grace period for paying it back. That means you’ll still pay interest even if you are able to pay back the amount at the end of the month.

Create a budget and stick to it. One of the best things you can do is to create a budget before you start your holiday shopping and then stick to it. That means determining ahead of time whom you are going to buy gifts for and how much you can afford to spend on each gift and in total.

Leave your credit cards at home if they will tempt you. If you have a set amount to spend, it is wise to take out the amount in cash and use that for your shopping so you aren’t tempted to overspend knowing that you have credit cards along. This doesn’t work as well with online shopping, though.

By following these tips, you should be able to make it through the holiday season without racking up too much credit card debt and starting 2016 off on the wrong foot.

If you are worried about not being able to afford to buy your friends and loved ones everything on their lists this year, remember that homemade gifts and cards are often worth a lot more than anything you can buy in a store or online.