Avoiding the Holiday Credit Hangover
The Holiday Season is here, and, unfortunately, this means many of us will pull our credit cards out more than we would like. There are a wide variety of expenses that come with the holidays. They include extra food, gifts, travel, dining out, parties, charitable contributions, and more. These added expenses might tempt you to go into debt to have fun, and worry about the consequences later.
However, going into heavy credit card debt because of the holidays is never a good idea. It not only puts unnecessary stress on you, but it can also damage your credit score. The number one criteria for a credit score is credit card utilization. A higher credit card balance will lower your score. In addition to that, you may be more likely to miss payments or apply for additional credit if you have heavy debt. These will lower your score as well.
With that in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to take a second to review some ways you can avoid going into heavy credit card debt this holiday season:
Pay in Cash: Avoid the plastic if you can – even debit cards. Paying in cash can help you better appreciate how much you’re spending. You’ll know very quickly if you’re overspending. This might not be the case if you’re paying with plastic. A wide variety of studies have shown that those who use their credit cards and debit cards tend to overspend.
Avoid Impulse Buys: Before you make a purchase, you should ask yourself if you really need this product or can you wait until you have more money available. If the product is a gift, are you overspending when there are less expensive items that would make nice gifts? There are very easy ways to avoid impulse buying this time of year. Stay away from the mall if you can, and do your research on products beforehand to see how much you should be spending and where you can find a good deal. It’s a good idea to write down everything you need to buy for the holidays and create a budget to ensure you avoid unnecessary spending.
Think Outside the Box: There are a number of ways you can spend time with loved ones without spending a fortune. Instead of going to a show or sporting event, go to a free community winter festival. Rather than go out on New Year’s Eve, have a potluck dinner at home. Remember, the holidays can simply be a time to share with family and friends. You don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune to do so.
It is possible to get through the holidays without getting into credit card debt. It is also important to know that it’s possible to rebuild your credit if you do have a bad year. This comes through paying your bills on time, lowering your debt, and acquiring credit, such as a credit card for bad credit. For example, a secured credit card like our UNITY Visa Card can help you obtain credit if you can’t otherwise. It reports to all 3 major credit bureaus, so it will allow you to rebuild your credit. We also offer educational resources to help you manage your personal finances.
All of us here at OneUnited Bank wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!