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Financial Friday: DOs and DON’Ts of credit card shopping over the holidays

Published: Dec. 10, 2021 at 1:11 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Holiday shopping is in full swing. Higher prices and product shortages are causing some shoppers to spend more to get the gifts they want for the holidays this year.

This year’s holiday spending is expected to shatter records, according to a forecast by the National Retail Federation. And yet, 29% of shoppers who put holiday gifts on a credit card last year are still paying them off, according to Nerd Wallet.

However, when used responsibly, credit cards can provide rewards and even some protections for your purchases.

WAFF talked to Briana Cousins, a Financial Education Coordinator at Redstone Federal about this. She offered these do’s and don’ts to consider as the holiday shopping season gets underway.

Credit Card DOs

  • Do put purchases on a card if you can take advantage of rewards or cashback.
  • Take advantage of increased rewards (like double points) that are often offered during the holidays.
  • Do pay more than the minimum, or you might not pay off this Christmas until June of 2025.

Credit Card DON’Ts

  • Don’t open multiple cards. If you already have credit cards or store cards, be careful of opening more lines of credit – even if it means a few dollars off your purchase. Increasing your debt through multiple accounts could negatively impact your credit.
  • Don’t put purchases on a credit card if you cannot pay off the balance.
  • Although you might be tempted by the rewards or low rates, it is unwise to have a large balance that you cannot pay off quickly. This increased debt increases your utilization percentage and can lead to a decrease in your credit. Plus paying interest for long periods of time is essentially giving your money away.

For more ways to save be sure to tune in at noon every Friday for WAFF 48′s “Financial Friday” segment.

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