Smart holiday shopping with credit cards

Home for the Holidays

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEXSTAR) — Major retailers are gearing up for some of their biggest sales of the season ahead of the holidays. Whether your buying gifts for the entire family or splurging a little on yourself smart shopping habits can go a long way in helping your budget for the season and manage your bills.

According to CardRates.com, November is peak season for credit card signups.  Many credit cards offer enticing bonuses up front but don’t sign up for every offer that comes your way.

Here are the Do’s and Don’ts for using your credit cards this season:

DO’S:

Use cards that offer rewards:  You’ll get cash back, points and miles depending on the type of card you use.  All of your holiday purchases can add up very quickly so you might as well maximize your rewards.  You’ll have to make sure you are paying off your balance each month though.
 
Use your cards activity alerts:  You can set up notifications to alert you of purchases made with your account.  This can help you stay on track and avoid any fraudulent activity during the busy shopping season.

DON’Ts

Don’t sign up for multiple retail credit cards: They may be enticing at check out when the clerk offers a 10-20 percent discount off your entire purchase, but oftentimes these cards can come with high-interest rates and your credit score can also be adversely affected by opening multiple accounts.
 
Don’t max out your cards:  Avoid carrying high balances. CardRates.com states your utilization ratio (which is what you owe over your available credit) is a huge part of your credit score.

Don’t use multiple cards: Spreading out all of your purchases can make juggling monthly payment harder to manage.

Use these smart shopping tips to help you keep from overspending and stay on budget for the season.
 
 

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