Tips for Keeping Credit Card Spending Under Control This Season

This year’s Black Friday was a real banger – to the tune of more than a billion dollars. This unprecedented figure was largely due to increased online and mobile shopping, and it doesn’t even include Cyber Monday shopping, which added up to another $1.98 billion on its own. These astounding e-commerce numbers mean an increase in credit card transactions, and therefore more potential to ring in the new year with a whole bunch of debt. How can you keep your credit card spending in check this holiday season? We’ve got some smart tips for you.

 

  • Be charitable. Does your sister have to change the channel every time one of those heart-wrenching Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercials with that fluffy, one-eyed, sad-faced dog comes on? It’s cool; we do too. And we know the perfect gift for her this year – a donation in her name. The recipient will be touched, you don’t have to charge a bunch of money to your card and you’ll be doing a good deed. It’s the holy trinity of holiday awesomeness.
  • Make a list and check it twice. “But how can he afford toys for every boy and girl?” The next time your kid questions Santa’s existence, we’ve got a great reply for you. Just say, “He practices great financial responsibility techniques.” And you can too. Make yourself a spending list and check it twice – or more than that if you have to. If you plan out how much you’re going to spend in advance (or maybe even decide exactly what you’ll get each person), it’s much easier to stop yourself from going wild with the plastic.
  • Get crafty. There’s no cooler gift than the one you make just for the recipient. When you make DIY gifts for your friends and family this year, the only expenses you’ll put on your credit card are the supplies. Not crafty yourself? That’s okay – lots of other people are. Check out online DIY markets like Etsy to find cool, inexpensive gifts for just about any taste. Got a friend who loves to read? Get her a necklace with a vintage book pendant  or a cute handmade case for her Kindle.
  • Don’t wait. We know you’re busy, but don’t procrastinate with your holiday shopping. In an emergency, it’s all too easy to spend more than what you had planned for – and that’s why making your first trip to the mall on the 23rd isn’t smart. Ordering online is no better: you’ll end up paying more for last-minute shipping, and you could miss out on deals too.
  • Get out of the house. Do a little brick-and-mortar shopping this season. Get out of the house, see the twinkling lights and the crazed shoppers and leave the cards behind. Cash is king, as the saying goes. Do a little more real-world cash spending this year and you won’t have to worry so much about those credit card statements come January 1st.

The sales data from this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday has shown us that e-commerce is becoming the go-to way to do holiday shopping. Cyber shopping doesn’t have to make you a slave to the credit card companies, though. Follow these tips and you just might be alright after all. Got some e-commerce advice of your own? Let us know in the comment section.

One comment

  1. During this season, it's nice to feel the holiday rush by doing the traditional shopping. Just like what you mentioned, it will be nice to pay in cash rather than worry once the credit card billing statement comes in.

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