According to the National Retail Federation, more than 165 million people are expected to shop the sales this weekend. With the explosion of retail emails, TV commercials, and paper ads that will inevitably catch your eye this weekend, it can be easy to overspend and get caught up in “deals” that break your budget rather than save you money. With this in mind, we share five tips to help you shop smart and keep things in perspective when pulling out the credit cards this holiday season – after all, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a good sale from time to time.
- Make a Budget…
- A budget allows you to understand how you regularly spend your money and can help you free up cash for your savings goals or for those Black Friday deals! Here’s a few steps to get you started and alleviate the stress associated with poor financial management.
- And Stick to It!
- How much did you spend on your Thanksgiving dinner last year? On Black Friday deals? On holiday gifts or charitable donations? You probably only have a very general idea of the answers to these questions. And frankly, that’s ok. Life is often too busy to record and categorize every expense and luckily, technology can help do all of that for you. Consider using a cash flow tracking app like Mint to help you stick to your holiday budget.
- Be Conscious, Not Cautious with Your Credit Card
- Credit cards can be considered a friend or foe – when used responsibly you can build trustworthiness with lenders but when used irresponsibly however, you run the risk of damaging your financial future. We offer four rules of thumb for using your credit cards responsibly this holiday season.
- Maximize Savings with Cash Back Bonuses
- For many consumers, cash back bonuses have become one of the most highly valued features of today’s credit cards. Take advantage of these rewards when shopping this season! We share our thoughts on cash back cards ad best practices for using them.
- Consider Gifts with Long-Term Value
- While some loved ones are easy to shop for, it can feel impossible to find the right gift for those who say they already have everything they need. When this is the case, consider allocating those funds to things with long-term value, like helping someone pay down their student loan, making a deposit into a child’s college fund, or donating to someone’s favorite charity.
Bottom line: Don’t blow your budget, have fun, and be safe! And don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to talk with us about shopping smart this holiday season.