Cash or credit?
When it comes to holiday spending, there are advantages to both.
Using cash to pay for holiday gifts is a great way to stay on budget. That’s probably why three quarters of Americans use cash for most of their holiday purchases. For example, you can limit the cash you bring shopping to the amount you’ve budgeted for the holiday gifts you’re purchasing on that trip.
Credit cards have their upside, too. Many credit cards offer purchase protection in case the merchandise you buy is defective or damaged. It’s also easier to deal with a lost or stolen credit card than lost or stolen cash. If you’re good with credit cards and can resist using them on impulse, they’re simply more convenient than cash.
If you choose to pay with credit, do it wisely. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides helpful information on how to shop for a new credit card and how to manage your credit card wisely.
Keep Your Holiday Cheer
How to avoid some of the shopping season's pitfalls.
Check your impulse
Are you prone to impulse purchases? Here’s a helpful technique.
When you find yourself tempted by an item, don’t say yes or no. Just make a note of it.
Then, come back to your note a few days later. You may find the purchase isn’t nearly as tempting. Or you may find that you’re doing a great job shopping wisely, and you have the budget after all.
Either way, you’ve avoided making a knee-jerk decision. And getting through the holidays making smart decisions, and without overspending, can be a wonderful gift to yourself.
Steer clear of the Grinch
The holiday season (and the coinciding tax season) often sees an increase in fraudulent emails, identity theft, and other cyber crime, in part because so many people are online.
Don’t let bad actors steal your holiday. Don’t let bad actors steal your holiday. For more on how to prevent fraud and identity theft, visit our AARP Fraud Watch Network.