Ways to Avoid Credit Card Debt this Holiday Season

Guest Post by Amanda Tradwick

Some of us can spend thousands of dollars on gifts during the holiday season. Many of us turn to the convenience of our credit cards to finance these giving (shopping) sprees, causing us to impulse purchase and spend much more in the long run by paying high interest rates. Even more modest holiday shopping budgets can spiral out of control when they are compounded by excessive interest rates over the year, or more, they take to pay off. Here are a few tips to help you avoid using your credit cards this holiday season and accumulating more debt:

Make a List

Start out by making a list of everyone for whom you want to buy a gift. Include family, friends, work associates, church members and anyone else you can think of who you want to give a gift. If you find that the list has become too long, you can go back through and remove some people. Creating a complete picture of your gift list will help you budget better.

Set a Budget (and Stick to It!)

Now that you know who you want to buy for, start setting a price limit for each person to come up with an overall budget. This is easier than setting an overall budget and then dividing by the number of recipients because you aren't likely to want to spend the same amount on your officemate as you are on your mother. If you find that your overall budget ends up being too high once you've set individual limits, you can go back and make a few adjustments. Setting an overall budget -- and a per-person budget -- will help you to better select gifts once you begin.

Hit the Sales

Once you have your budget, maximize its potential by shopping sales and online promotions. There are a few times a year when many retailers are known to mark down their items, most notably the day after Thanksgiving and the Monday after Thanksgiving. Shopping during this time can save you a significant amount. The period after Thanksgiving and before Christmas is also a generally good time to shop.

Don't limit yourself to these sales times! Look for sales throughout the year -- even those right after Christmas if you're able to plan that far out for the next year. Also, take advantage of online sales and specials. Many retailers offer lower prices through their online stores, as well as free shipping and gifts with purchase. Check out all your options to get the lowest prices that you can.

Leave Your Credit Cards at Home

If you don't have your credit cards with you when you shop, you won't be tempted to use them to spend more than your budget, to purchase impulse items for which you had not planned, or to get "just a little something extra." Take cash with you, or use a debit card that is tied directly to your checking account and does not have a protective credit line. Once you're out of cash, you're done buying.

Make Gifts

The easiest way to save money on your gifts and to save yourself the burden of credit card debt is to make some of your gifts. Many friends and family would prefer to receive a gift that was made with a sincere spirit or that has some sentimental value. Framed photos, favorite baked goods or even heartfelt letters all make great gifts. Be creative and make it specific to the recipient.

Saving early, making a plan and doing some smart shopping can all help you to save money this holiday season and to avoid the burden of extra credit card debt. The earlier you plan (and save), the better off you will be and the brighter your holidays!

Author Bio:
Amanda Tradwick is a grant researcher and writer for She has a Bachelor's degrees from the University of Delaware, and has recently finished research on grants for married college students and student grants in north carolina.

1 comment:

Belks Credit Card said...

Your story is the same like me.
That's horrible.


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