A natural part of the enjoyment of the holidays is searching out the right present for each person on your list. But if you stretch your finances beyond their limits, your holiday shopping sprees can return to haunt you later. With a few very simple precautions, it may be easier to control what you spend and still find great gifts. Better to do it now than be asking how do I fix my credit in January.
Many people tend to spend a little more when they buy using credit-cards. Keep these things in mind before you pull out the plastic this holiday season:
* You could end up paying more for your gift. If the charged balance is not paid, finance expenses will add extra costs to the original purchase price.
* Spending too much or maxing out your charge cards on presents could negatively impact your credit. High outstanding debt accounts for nearly 30 percent of your credit score.
* Discounts will cost you your credit rating. Before you decide to accept a discount on your purchase for signing-up for a store credit card, remember that just applying for new accounts could negatively affect your credit rating.
To avoid having to use credit for Christman gift purchases, begin saving as early as possible. Mentally mark certain funds as “off limits” for anything besides gift purchases – or even set aside funds in a savings account that you know you won’t touch until shopping time comes. When you’re ready to hit the shopping mall (or the Web), you can set yourself on the path to sensible spending by limiting yourself to a list and establishing a budget. Both can help you remain focused on who you’re buying gifts for and how much you planned to spend. Any time you must use your credit card, only charge what you can afford to repay.
If you do make some missteps, however, there are smarter ways to get your finances on the right path after the holidays. Stick with these steps to get out of debt faster:
* Don’t ignore your obligations. Putting things off might seem like the easiest solution when you’re feeling overwhelmed, but it’s important not to slip into the procrastination trap. If you let your obligations slip past the due date, your interest rates might increase, you could incur late payment fees and late payments will be reported to credit history agencies.
* Get smarter about paying off your credit card debts. If your holiday purchases spanned a mixture of cards, you ought to figure out a strategy to pay off what you owe quickly and most economically. To help get you started, consider financial products like the Suze Orman FICO Kit, which will help you prioritize your debts so that you can pay them off faster.
* Exceed the minimum payment due. The more money paid toward the balances, the faster you will pay off your debts. Or, better yet, pay the balance in full to limit the amount of interest you have to pay each month.
It’s easy to get caught up in the generous spirit of the season, but none of your gift recipients would like you to get into debt on their account. Beginning your holiday shopping with some easy-to-follow spending guide-lines is the ideal way to approach the gift-giving season – and coming out of it free of debt will feel like a present to yourself.
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