Four Tips to Control Your Credit Card Spending This Season

Do you use your credit cards quite regularly around this time of year and then get hit with a huge bill in January? Here are a few ways to help prevent those oversized bills from putting a damper on your Christmas season.

As we are smack dab in the middle of the holiday shopping season, this is a good time to talk about credit card spending and how to keep yourself from going too far into debt over the next few weeks. Studies show that when you use a credit card to buy something, you typically spend about 10 to 15 percent more than you normally would. Here are some ways to keep your credit card bills from haunting you until next Christmas.

1. Have lunch and dinner at home. One thing that many people do when they are out Christmas shopping is to go out to lunch or dinner during their shopping trek. But this can add another $20 or more to your credit card statement at the end of the month. If you go out shopping several times, these meals can really add up. To save money, don’t go shopping hungry. Instead, make your lunch and dinner at home and eat before you go shopping.

2. Have a list when you go shopping. If Santa Claus does it, why shouldn’t you? Having a list when you go Christmas shopping helps you stay organized and it keeps you from overspending. Get an idea of what you want to get each person on your list and write that down. When you buy someone’s gift, cross it off so you don’t buy more. Without a list, you could end up buying more than you planned for one person and not enough for another.

3. Look for the bargains. During Christmastime, you can find all kinds of bargains and deals at the various stores and online. If you plan on traveling for the holidays, you can even find great travel deals if you start looking around early enough. Other places to look for great prices include Craigslist and eBay if you are internet savvy.

4. Don’t pay too much for shipping. If you plan on doing a lot of your shopping online this holiday season, make sure you don’t pay too much for shipping. Some websites offer free or discounted shipping if you purchase a certain amount of products. If you’re not careful, though, you could end up spending hundreds of dollars in shipping when you could have just gone to the store and found a better deal.

Keep these credit card shopping tips in mind this holiday season and you will find that your monthly statements won’t be as scary as they usually are this time of year.

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