Add Smart Credit Card Use to Your Holiday Shopping Plan

Chances are that, during the holidays, you are going to be shopping quite a bit.

Most of us make purchases of toys for our kids, gifts for friends and relatives, food for entertaining, and decorations. The spending seems to ramp up during the holiday season.

If you’re going to spend the money anyway, it’s a good idea to make the best of the situation, and take advantage as much as possible.  With the right strategy, you can incorporate smart credit card spending into your holiday budget, and make the most of each dollar spent.

Make Your Purchases with Rewards Cards

The best thing you can do is to make the most of your credit card spending by making your purchases with rewards credit cards.

Put your purchases on the rewards cards, and you can rack up the points faster.

One of your best options is to use a cash back credit card.  A cash back card means that a percentage of each of your holiday purchases comes back to you.  Many credit cards are offering special cash back offers during this time of year.  Cards, like the Chase Freedom, that offer quarterly cash back categories for higher rewards often include categories like toys and dining this time of year.  Check your card rewards just to find out what offers you might be eligible, for and which categories you can get the most cash back.

Shop Online When You Can

One of the beauties of technology these days is you don’t have to leave the comforts of your home to shop.  Why bother fighting holiday crowds when you can buy what you need online?

Many retailers offer free shipping around the holidays.  You can even get gift options with many of your purchases.

Using your credit card to shop online can take a lot of frustration out of your holiday shopping.  I love using sites like Amazon and their Prime service to get great prices and quick deliveries for what I’m shopping for.

Also, most cards these days offer up purchase protections like fraud protection and price adjusting as well as extended warranties that make shopping with your credit card that much more appealing.

Be Sure to Pay Off Your Card

using a credit card for holiday purchases

Using a credit card for your holiday purchases can make a lot of sense but only if you pay off your card!

Of course, just because you are using your credit card in the hopes that it will help you take some of the pain out of your holiday shopping bills, it doesn’t mean that you should leave your budget behind.

You need to make sure that you stick to your holiday shopping budget, and that you have the money to cover your bills when they arrive.  Your best results come when you avoid paying interest and other credit card fees.

One of the problems with using credit cards in this way is that it is easy to lose track of what you’re spending.

Make sure you track your holiday spending, and don’t go over budget.  Your rewards credit card is supposed to be a tool, not an instrument to get you into debt.  Besides, the interest you pay carrying the balance can easily amount to more than what you save with the help of your rewards.

Bottom Line

You can use your rewards credit card to help you save money this holiday season.

Make a list of what you need, and then shop the sales.  You’ll find the best deals, helping you stretch your dollars.  When it’s time to pay, pull out your favorite cash back rewards credit card.  Not only will you be able to take advantage of the holiday sales, but you will also be able to earn a little cash back to boot.

Keep the money you have saved up in a high yield account until it’s time to pay off your credit card.  That way, you’ll get a little extra on top of your cash back, and your other savings.

How do you maximize your credit card during the holidays?



Published or updated November 28, 2012.

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