Managing Your Credit and Spending During the Holidays
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Managing Your Credit and Spending During the Holidays

The holidays can be a challenging time for many people, especially when it comes to gifts.
While giving and receiving often make it a season of fun, it’s also the biggest shopping season of
the year—which means our bank accounts usually end up worse for the wear. And if you
already have any credit card debt, piling it up isn’t the best maneuver for your financial health.
While a recent survey found that 71% of people are stressed about spending over the holiday
season, by carefully preparing and planning, you can reduce the impact on your wallet.

Get your budget ready

If you haven’t already put together a holiday budget, now is the time.
Make sure to include your household expenses and factor in any debt you already have. It’s also
good to categorize your holiday spending between gifts, food, decorations, travel, postage,
cards, and more. This makes it easier to track where your dollars are going so you can adjust
easily if you spend too much in one area.

Watch your credit

Keeping an eye on your credit cards can help you stay grounded in the
reality of your finances. It’s also a good idea to take extra precautions and guard against
identity theft. You can do so with a virtual credit card number when shopping online.
Make sure you don’t overspend. This could impact your credit utilization ratio (the amount of
credit you have available versus debt), which can hurt your credit score. Track your spending
with a spreadsheet, keep receipts, or use a budgeting app.

Shop early and smart

By starting your shopping earlier, you can alleviate some of the financial
impact. Of course, some of the best days to go shopping are Black Friday and Cyber Monday
due to the big savings, so take advantage of sales. You can often find discount codes shopping
online, while coupons can help you find savings for in-store shopping. And if you don’t have
enough in your budget for someone, homemade gifts are an alternative.

Talk to a credit counselor

If you’re overwhelmed by your finances, a credit counselor can help.
During your appointment, they’ll create a budget with you, provide tools and resources for
financial literacy, and go over long-term planning goals. You’ll be prepared for the shopping
season to successfully navigate the gift demands.


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