A quarter of Americans will go into debt this holiday season by paying for food, decorations, and holiday gifts with credit cards. A recent report eluded that many people are still paying off last year’s holiday spending and many more will take as long as six months to pay off their holiday spending. We’ve put together a few suggestions that could help you get off to a smart financial start in 2018 by paying attention to your spending and shopping smart.
Holiday Credit Card Spending
In a recent poll, Americans said they are likely to spend about the same amount on gifts as they did last year, however, without a firm plan in place it’s easy to overspend. Thus, making a plan ahead of time and sticking to your gift shopping list will help you stay on budget. You can begin by making a list of the people you plan on shopping for and setting a spending limit for each name on your list.
Another added credit card spending tip is to limit all you’re spending to one or two credit cards. It can easily become unmanageable when you spread your holiday spending across multiple cards. Additionally, if you keep you spending limited to the credit cards with the lowest interest rate, you won’t pay as much interest when the credit card bill arrives. In fact, December is a great time to shop around for a new credit card. Many credit card companies offer low or zero percent interest rates for new cards, and you can take advantage of this by paying the least amount of interest on your holiday shopping.
Budget and Track
According to retail sales reports, Americans are actually spending more than expected this year. Not only should you outline a shopping list and budget, but you should also keep track of how much you spent and how it falls into your budget. It’s quite easy to get carried away on additional purchases, but even if you do this, you can negate going into long-term debt if you are tracking your spending.
By shopping smart, limiting your credit card debt exposure, and tracking your spending, you are much less likely to be paying off your holiday spending this time next year. With less debt on your mind in the New Year, you are also much more likely to be less stressed and will be able to focus paying down the debt you do have and earning more in the year to come.