It’s that holiday shopping time again and whether you shop at the malls or online there are a few things that you can consider that will help you to avoid credit problems this holiday season.
Paying cash is always a good option but of course, not possible when you are shopping online. Also a credit card tends to be safer for online purchases than a debit card. So it may be inevitable that you will use credit for shopping this holiday season but there are some precautions you can take to protect your credit scores.
? Avoid department and retail store credit cards. This type of credit is actually counted against you for your credit scores so even if they offer you a great deal, for example, ?20% off your purchases if you open a store credit card?, in the long run it can be detrimental to your credit scores and even if you don?t take the card if you say ?yes? there will be an inquiry on your report. The best advice here is to ?Just say No?.
? Your debt to credit ratio is important for your score so you need to try to make sure that you are keeping your debt below 30% of your credit limit. If you happen to go above that self-imposed limit, make sure that you can pay it down ASAP. If your debt to credit ratio goes over 30% your credit score will take a hit.
? Check receipts for accuracy and save them in case you need them later for returns, verifications or whatever.
? Check prices online. Most stores have websites and you can save yourself time and money if you check out your purchases online beforehand. You may decide to purchase online or at a store in your area but if you do your research first you will have a better idea of reasonable prices and the best deals available.
The holidays are ?the most magical time of the year? but if you are still paying for them come spring and summer, that magic dissipates. Plan your shopping. Enjoy your holiday but remember that your credit and credit scores stay with you all year long. Protect yourself.