For some this is a wonderful time of the year. But all the gift-giving, and entertainment associated with the holidays can also bury some in debt.
Have you made it your goal to stay out of debt this holiday season? Or are you already calling your credit card companies to raise your credit limit?
The last thing you want to think about during the holiday season is how you’re going to deal with the debt. Nobody wants to, but it’s a real problem that can damage your credit and ruin your holiday experience.
Avoiding debt during the holiday shopping season can be difficult, but it is doable. Just be practical about what you are buying and plan ahead.
Here are some tips on how to avoid debt this holiday season.
Make a holiday shopping budget
Most people have extra money that they plan for holiday shopping. Before you start spending, make a holiday shopping budget and stick to it.
Also, stick to a gift budget. Get with family and friends and suggest that everyone abide by gift limits. Or consider a gift drawing, where everyone draws names out of a hat to see whom they will be buying gifts for. This way you can keep to your holiday shopping budget, and help everyone else stick to theirs as well.
Be smart about credit cards.
Using credit cards to earn rewards or cash back for holiday purchases can save you money. But only if you’re able to pay off the balance on your cards each month. The interest that you’ll have to pay on interest if you carry a balance will far outweigh the value of the rewards.
Department store credit cards are horrible deals. No matter how tempting that 10% savings may sound, carrying a balance for months easily erases that savings with interest charges.
It also doesn’t hurt to keep an accurate record of every purchase you make. Debt can accumulate because you’ve forgotten that you’ve bought something. This can be especially detrimental if you use several credit cards.
Enjoy Your Holidays and Avoid Debt
It’s easy to get lost in the splendor of the holidays and forget your responsibilities. Keeping your budget in mind will allow you to enjoy the holidays and avoid debt this holiday season.