30 Nov Holiday Shopping and Credit Cards
The holidays are upon us and that means many of us will get caught up in the Season of Giving. Credit cards will be swiped left and right, or inserted for those of us who have the chip, and the money will start disappearing before our very eyes. Even those who are financially responsible and typically keep track of their expenses tend to go overboard during the holiday season.
Many credit cards offer rewards and perks for using your card on purchases big and small. If you’re curious and want to find out how your rewards work, contact a customer service representative or take a look online. This information will help you keep track and see if making purchases on your card for rewards will be worth it or if it will hurt your wallet in the long run. Rewards can include a certain percentage off your item, cash back rewards, or even a free airline ticket. It sounds like it would be worth the swipe of your card but is it really? Take a look at how much interest you would be paying and whether those rewards make sense to make credit card purchases or not.
Make a budget for how much you would like to spend during your holiday shopping trip. If you have a plan, you’ll most likely stick to it and not spend any extra money you really can’t afford. One benefit to shopping online is that it will help keep track of your purchases with email confirmations and receipts. Many stores even ask if you would like to have your receipt printed or emailed. Having your receipt emailed to you will help avoid the search for lost paper receipts.
Most stores will ask if you would like to sign up for their store credit card and receive a discount towards your purchase. During the holidays, 10% savings can sometimes seem like it’s worth it. However, think about how it will affect your credit score and the stress of having to pay off yet another new card. Opening a new card within a short period of time can also make creditors think you have a hard time securing credit which can hurt your credit score.
Do your best to avoid credit card fraud. This can really put a damper on your holidays when you find out someone has stolen your information and is off buying their own gifts with your money. The holiday season tends to bring out the most credit fraud since stores are filled with shoppers. Protect yourself by checking your accounts regularly and if you find a charge you don’t remember making, call your card company immediately and settle it. You’ll feel much better if you catch any fraud early on. It may even help if you bring cash with you instead so you can avoid fraud overall.