Using Credit Cards to Holiday Shop: 3 Tips for Controlling Your Holiday Shopping
By Danielle Buffardi

With Christmas right around the corner it’s so easy to whip out your plastic to pay for your purchases. Here are some tips to help you stay safely within your holiday budget when paying with credit cards and cash during the holiday season.

Tip #1: Watch where you credit card goes: Once your card leaves your wallet it’s especially crucial that you eyeball it in order to remember to get it back. Holiday shopping time is the key time when consumers can forget or leave their card behind. Whether it’s because you simply forgot to put it back into your wallet or the cashier left it atop of their register, forgetting or leaving your credit card at stores not only is a nuisance but it also increases your chances for having your identity stolen and criminals to get a hold of your card and go on their own holiday shopping spree.

Tip #2: Try to limit your purchases to one credit card: This may be hard for some consumers who tend to buy high priced items over the holidays, but using only one credit card to pay for presents means you only have to worry about paying off one credit card bill. All your spending will be right there in front of you and will make looking over your credit card bill a snap. Also, when it comes time for those monthly payments to roll around, you won’t have to dish out minimum payments all over the place. If you get a holiday bonus from work, it’ll be easier to toss that one credit card some extra money to help keep your balance in check.

Tip #3: Try bringing cash with you as well: If you have cash on hand when holiday shopping then it may help you limit your spending. If there’s small purchases that can be tended to with cash then use that rather than your credit card. Paying cash for your purchases also helps you control the amount you’re spending, this way when your bills start rolling in after the holidays you may not find yourself overwhelmed on how you’re going to cover that outrageous credit card bill.

While we all can’t buy what we’d like for everyone on our shopping list, we can plan our holiday spending more cautiously. Keep a list of what everyone will be getting and try to stick to your list. Using only one credit card can help you keep track of your spending during the holidays so that if you feel you need to cut back in some areas, then you’ll be able to see that rather clearly on just one statement. Also, using cash to help pay for some holiday presents may not be a bad thing. Again, it can help limit your present buying and you can see if there’s room for adjustment for next year’s holiday shopping spree.

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