It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Holiday sales are tremendous and offers to save money by opening a new credit card or five sound sooo good!

It is SO easy to get swept away in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Gifts to buy, parties to attend, charities to support; the need for spending can seem endless! Let’s face it, the temptation is REAL and it is up to each of us to do our best to minimize the damage to our pocketbook.

Of course, the PERFECT plan is to save up all year to pay for gifts but most of us end up using our credit cards to fund at least some of our costs. If you are one of us who didn’t save up and are going to use credit during the holiday season, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • Decide on a budget per person before shopping. Family and friends wouldn’t want you to spend on them and create a hardship for yourself.
  • Set limits on buying for your own kids. I think often times, we as adults have higher expectations for gift giving than our kids do!
  • I love this idea that I ran across somewhere! Consider giving your kids 4 gifts: something they want, need, wear and read. I think this would work for adults too!
  • Don’t max out your credit cards, you will sharply decrease your credit score if you have to carry the balances for several months.
  • Opening several new accounts or having several credit inquiries in a short period of time to get extra discounts on your purchases doesn’t help your score and the extra amount you save probably isn’t worth harming your score. Plus, the retail store cards come with very high interest rates!

Here’s to family, friends and lots of good cheer during the holidays!

Charnell Morud

Charnell is one of Verity’s financial counselors.

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