If you're anything like me, you've been spending a lot more the past few weeks than you usually do. More toys, more clothes, more gadgets, more books, more travel, more food and treats — more of just about anything.
If you're anything like most Americans, you're using a credit card to fund a good chunk of the spending.
Then you spend the next few months trying to dig yourself out of debt. Here's some common sense Christmas spending advice.
If you insist on spending more than you have on Christmas (why?), then at very least find a competitive rate on your credit card. Or better yet, find a promotional rate that is zero percent or close to it.
Rather than going into debt for Christmas, how about planning ahead. Decide how much you reasonably want to spend and set 1/12 of that aside every month. Make purchases (on sale) throughout the year when you see the perfect gift — and pay with your Christmas fund.
To stretch your budget further, try my trick. It requires self-discipline but can make your budget go even further. I buy all our groceries, household needs, clothes, gifts — even some utilities — on annual-fee-free rewards credit cards. Then I pay them off in full every month, no exceptions.
Purchasing this way is free from bank fees. It also has a great kicker: a cash back bonus, frequent flier miles, or some other useful commodity.
As long as you can refrain from overspending, credit cards can be a great way to get an effective rebate on purchases.