How to avoid a credit card hangover

Between all the parties, gift buying and holiday activities, it’s all too easy to wake up with a credit card hangover. Start thinking now about ways to practice safe spending and you may well avoid the pain.

• Pay with cash

When you pay by credit you don’t think much about the cost, but when you pay with cash or a debit card you have to know that you have the money before you can make the purchase.

• Resist impulse shopping

Before you hit the shops, make a list of what you need and then resist the urge to add impulse buys unless you really need them. Read catalogues and go online to find out where the best prices are before you leave home.

• Set a limit

When it comes to gift buying, nights-out or holiday activities, set a limit on how much you allow yourself to spend.  Also consider reducing your credit card limit down to the bare minimum to avoid the temptation to make purchases you can’t afford.

• Get creative

As an alternative to store-bought gifts, tap into your talents and give the gift of your skill and time – babysitting, cooking, car washing, mowing, gardening, computer repairs.

• Be aware of interest-free deals

These are designed to trap you into high interest later on. Circumstances can change quickly and if you can’t pay the balance during the interest-free period, you will be left struggling to pay higher interest charges.

• Spread your costs

Spreading costs out over the year makes it much more manageable. Try to shop for gifts throughout the year and take advantage of any sales. Put some money into a Christmas club account each week and re-acquaint yourself with good old fashioned lay-by.

• Seek advice

If you get into trouble with your finances, always ask for help sooner rather than later. We would encourage you to contact us for any assistance you may need to cope with spending.



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