How to avoid a credit card hangover
Between all the Christmas parties, gift buying and holiday activities, it's all too easy to wake up in January with a credit card hangover. Start thinking now about ways to practice safe Christmas spending and you may well avoid the New Year pain.
- Pay with cash
When you pay by credit you don't think much about the cost, but when you pay with cash or a debit card you have to know that you have the money before you can make the purchase.
- Resist impulse shopping
Before you hit the shops, make a list of what you need and then resist the urge to add impulse buys unless you really need them. Read catalogues and go online to find out where the best prices are before you leave home.
- Set a limit
When it comes to gift buying, nights-out or holiday activities, set a limit on how much you allow yourself to spend. Why not ask your friends and family if they are interested in starting Kris Kringle with a dollar limit. Also consider reducing your credit card limit down to the bare minimum to avoid the temptation to make purchases you can't afford.
- Get creative
As an alternative to store-bought gifts, tap into your talents and give the gift of your skill and time - babysitting, cooking, car washing, mowing, gardening, computer repairs.
- Be aware of interest-free deals
These are designed to trap you into high interest later on. Circumstances can change quickly and if you can't pay the balance during the interest-free period, you will be left struggling to pay higher interest charges.
- Spread your costs
Spreading costs out over the year makes it much more manageable. Try to shop for gifts throughout the year and take advantage of any sales. Put some money into a Christmas club account each week and re-acquaint yourself with good old fashioned lay-by.
- Seek advice
If you get into trouble with your finances, always ask for help sooner rather than later. We would encourage you to contact us for any assistance you may need to cope with festive season spending.