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5 Strategies to Control Spending this Holiday Season

Have you noticed that holiday shopping seems to start earlier every year? The Halloween candy isn’t even off the shelves before stores start putting up displays with snowflakes and maybe a red-suited guy with a white beard.

For many, the arrival of the holiday season seems to send a reflexive signal to start spending. So let’s review some strategies to control spending so that your debt doesn’t spiral upwards and your credit score nosedives.
Be strategic about credit:
  • Before you start shopping, know the interest rates on your credit cards, as well as what you already owe.
  • Monitor your credit regularly. Inaccuracies can lower your credit score as well as indicate identity fraud, so watch for anything you know is incorrect or unfamiliar.
  • If you’re going to open new retail accounts to get a discount on shopping, be aware that this will cause your credit score to suffer a short-term dip.
If you’re already carrying a balance:
  • Pay off balances with the highest interest rates first. Don’t pay more in interest than you have to.
  • If you can, pay more than the minimum each month, otherwise, interest will grow on the remainder of your credit card balance. Try to negotiate your interest rate. In this economic climate, card issuers are anxious to retain consumers who use credit responsibly.
If you are concerned about your credit score, it might be a better idea to pay for holiday shopping with cash. If lenders see a high credit utilization ratio, they’ll conclude that you’re “maxing out,” or doing more spending than you can pay for. Keep that in mind when you head to the mall (or online), be safe, and have a happy and solvent holiday season!
Now that you know more about holiday spending strategies,
get your credit report & score.
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