The holiday season is just around the corner.
Christmas lights decorate the streets.
Carols can be heard from every corner.
People seem friendlier… more cordial.
Of course, the holiday season would be incomplete without a good deal of everyone’s favorite pastime—shopping.
Being a prudent person, I can’t help but feel a certain dread this time of year.
My strategy is to prepare a budget in advance and to do my shopping around Black Friday.
Nonetheless, no matter how many gifts I buy, there always seems to be one more… and another after that.
Which means I typically overspend my budget.
And I know I’m not alone.
Some even take on debt to bolster their budgets and be able to buy for everyone on their lists.
The other day, I saw a survey from CreditCards.com showing that 45% of Americans are considering holiday-related credit-card debt.
Meanwhile, the website showed that 41% of adults already have credit-card debt.
I find these numbers concerning, and I don’t want you to fall into the same trap.
I’ve prepared these tips to help get you and your bank account through the holiday season unscathed…
Christmas Tip #1: Get Yourself A 0% Interest Credit Card
Yes, you read correctly.
There are 0% interest credit cards out there.
Even better, some of them allow you to transfer your existing credit card debt to the new 0% card.
In some cases, the 0% interest rate lasts up to 21 months.
Moreover, you don’t need an impeccable credit score to get one. A score of 670 or better can do it. The national average requirement is around 705.
I also suggest you look for cards that don’t charge a transfer fee, such as American Express EveryDay, BankAmericard, and Chase Slate.
Christmas Tip #2: Spend With Points
Most credit cards today come with points programs.
Often, people have no idea how many they’ve collected.
Estimates show that most cardholders hold the equivalent of roughly $160 in credit-card points, $230 in hotel points, and $340 in unused flying miles.
Why not use some of those for Christmas gifts, or at least use your holiday shopping to earn rewards points.
The best deals are typically on travel, cashback, and gift cards. Note, though, that merchandise typically costs more than it would if you were shopping without points.
Christmas Tip #3: Consider A Side Job
I know, I know…
Who wants to work during the holidays, right?
But with unemployment at historic lows, the number of job openings is astounding… especially during the Christmas season.
You could use this opportunity to get a side hustle and earn some extra cash, which you could use to pay down existing debt.
Or, even better, buy yourself a relaxing holiday on the Caribbean to escape the North American winter.
Whatever you decide, I encourage you to keep your spending habits in check. Your bank account will thank you for it come Jan. 1.