Holiday shopping tips to avoid maxing out your credit card

December 18, 2007

Shopping gets jollier when the holidays kick in.

We all know how therapeutic shopping is. But admittedly, we do experience a bit of a downside a few weeks after when our credit card bills come in. It’s like the point of regret comes in, we all try to justify what we swept our card for, and at the end of the day, we all pay our debts.

Morning sickness
I remember when I first lived solo that I experienced some spasm episodes whenever I open my visa bill. It was like the world is spinning and I turned into the most positive person in the world but then my hopes went to all-time lows as I saw how I have overly taken advantage of my credit limit. Those morning sickness scenarios were strongly triggered by my card’s interest rates. With the rates ranging anywhere from 7- 29% every month, you could end up paying $70 at the end of the year. After seeing the bill, I immediately dialled the customer service number and wait for like $45 minutes before getting a real person to speak to and $15 minutes to get the answer that I already knew deep inside.

Holiday shopping tips to avoid maxing out your credit card

Long and winding road to enlightenment
After those spasm episodes, I vowed to myself that I will never, ever let that happen again. But hey, I didn’t take a hiatus on shopping. Just made notes on how to avoid maxing out those precious plastics.

Saving to avoid pain

  • List all the stuff you need

Prioritize the things you really need. And it doesn’t end in listing. Try to buy them first. Yes, there are distractions as you strut around, but resisting the temptation will save us from future pain. After getting the most necessary stuff, then you can follow your shopping instincts at a one-second interval.

  • Make use of gift cards

Those gift cards come in handy especially during the holidays. Using them trims down your spending via credit card at a considerable amount. As the old bible story goes, use what is given to you rather than burying them underground. Also, if you have unused credits at a store, time to get the shoes rolling and use ’em.

  • Take note of what you have spend on

This may sound old-school, but it works. Makes you avoiding buying stuff twice or thrice with just an another brand. But if you prefer to buy a dress in all the available colors (just like me), have it your way. Point is, just list everything so that you’ll have something to compare with when the credit card bill comes in.

  • Demand for receipts and keep them

Make sure to keep all records of your transactions, at least till your bill for the month comes in. Again, for comparison purposes. Not making you put them on a collage, just keep them in safe place and then shred them after they have served their purpose.

Not going overboard
The holidays can bring stress but the post-Christmas stress is more demanding because this is when all the results of our shopping spending pours in. But, never let the challenge of spending wisely ruin your jolly spirit. At the end of the day, everything we shop for is really justified. Aren’t they?

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