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The National Retail Federation recently announced that holiday retail sales will increase between 3.6 and 4 percent for a total of $678.75 billion to $682 billion this year, up from $655.8 billion last year – that’s a lot of shopping and potential credit vulnerability. If you’re one of the many Americans preparing to open your wallet and swipe your cards this season, take a look at 199ride.com’s top five credit tips that your bank account will thank you for after the season of spending winds down.
- Shop with the right cards.
Make the most of your cards by seeing what cash back or rewards programs are available. Use cash back rewards to pay your bills after holiday shopping, or put your money towards an upcoming event. Nevertheless, don’t get carried away and chase credit rewards at the expense of your budget. It doesn’t make sense to spend money you don’t have or can’t pay back as soon as possible.
See some of the best rewards credit cards of 2017.
- Don’t open store cards.
Unless you know you can pay off the cards on the spot, store cards can take you down a slippery slope. Though they are enticing with offers and discounts, it’s easy to forget to pay them off. Plus, retail cards typically have high interest rates and late fees that aren’t advertised. What’s more, a recent credit card survey indicated that the average retail card APR is 24.99 percent, up 1.15 percent from 2016. Not paying off your balance right away could result in a huge ding on your credit.
There are times when opening a store credit card can be beneficial, but think twice before you sign up. Know yourself and your limitations.
- Avoid paying minimum statements after holidays.
Pay in full as soon as possible to avoid additional interest charges. Making the minimum payment only keeps you in debt longer and costs you money in interest. Over time, you’ll not only rack up a bigger balance, but you’ll be eating away at money you could use towards necessities.
- Set a spending budget, make a list, and shop for deals.
Be sure to set a budget before holiday shopping begins. Determine how much money needs to be allocated towards your non-negotiable, monthly fees like heating, groceries, and rent or mortgage. From there, understand how much extra cash you have for holiday spending. This will help you visualize what you can realistically spend and avoid debt.
While it seems silly, making a shopping list and setting limits for each person you plan to give gifts to will help you from overspending. Plus, if you do your research prior to shopping or shop online, you’ll ensure you’re getting the best deals and are not overpaying.
- Keep a close eye on your accounts.
Spot unauthorized charges early by carefully monitoring your charges. With extra spending around the holidays, it’s easy to miss fraudulent charges if you don’t check regularly.
Create safeguards by setting up credit card alerts to help keep tabs on your spending activity. Some credit cards offer text alerts to show you instantaneous transactions, helping you not only keep a close eye on your budget, but also stopping any fraudulent activity in its tracks.
Be smart! What would hurt your loved ones more than not getting an elaborate gift this season is seeing you in debt. Following 199ride.com’s tips will help make the season of spending a little easier come January.
Financing Made Easy at 199ride.com with No Credit or Subprime Credit
At 199ride.com, we’re making sure that your financing experience is positive regardless of your credit score. Since 2013, our trusted sales teams have continued to work hard to help land you in a Nicer, Newer™, worry-free vehicle.
No matter what you’re looking for, 199ride.com has a vehicle for you. Stop by one of our five convenient Wisconsin car dealerships in Green Bay, Appleton, Wausau, Antigo, or La Crosse and check out our extensive used car inventory to find the perfect car, truck, or SUV for all your holiday adventures.