Have you been naughty or nice this holiday season with your credit card spending? If you haven't been keeping track, you'll most certainly find out when your credit card statements come in January. Here are seven naughty holiday pitfalls and the nicest ways to avoid them:
Credit Card Limits
Naughty: Charging more than one-third of your card's credit limit in any one statement period this holiday season.
Nice: Make sure your balance stays under 33 percent of your total credit limit. This will ensure you don't have any negative impact on your credit score with your holiday spending. It may be helpful to set up email alerts that let you know the balance on your credit card account.
Naughty: Spending more than you normally would because you are charging it on your credit card rather than paying in cash.
Nice: Whether you use credit, cash or a check, keep track of every dollar you spend so you stay in line with your holiday budget. Don't allow yourself to spend over a set amount during the holidays.
Paying For Gifts
Naughty: Charging gifts on your credit card that you normally wouldn't purchase if you didn't have available credit.
Nice: Spend only what you can afford. Remember, the best gifts aren't necessarily those that cost the most, but those that come from the heart.
Store Credit Cards
Naughty: Opening a new credit card account while waiting in line to save a few extra dollars on your purchase.
Nice: Only open a store credit card account after you have thoroughly researched the offer and the card's fine print. Make sure it is beneficial in the long run. Most store credit cards have very high interest rates which make it very costly to carry a balance from one month to the next.
Naughty: Buying that gift just because it looks like a good deal.
Nice: Make a holiday list and a budget before you begin shopping. This will help you avoid impulse buying and keep you on budget for the holidays.
Naughty: Giving holiday gifts to people who are not on your list or giving extravagant gifts when you can't afford it.
Nice: Stay on budget and set expectations for gift giving. This will ensure both you and the recipient of your gift are happy when you exchange gifts.
Naughty: Ruining the holidays by making it all about the presents.
Nice: Remember the true meaning of Christmas. Make this holiday more about spending time with friends and family rather than the gifts.
These seven simple tips will you begin 2016 in good financial shape.