LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The holidays are over. Now, paying for it begins.
It’s time to face your Christmas shopping debts. Getting them paid off means planning ahead.
For some, shopping during the holidays on a credit card is all about cash-back rewards and miles. But for others, it’s a way to still buy gifts without spending their own money right away.
“I can see and understand why maybe some are relying on credit cards a little bit more now than usual,” said Joe Califa, a financial adviser.
And, it’s never a good idea to max out your credit card or come close to your limit.
“Overspending can be a big problem. First of all, it’ll hurt your credit score. These credit rating agencies want to see you using a reasonable amount of your credit limit. However, once you start overspending, that’s a red flag to them.”
It also results in a cash flow problem that could bury you deeper in debt.
Financial advisors say as long as you have a plan, you should be able to manage.
“We can control a budget,” said Rolando J. Perez Jr., president and founder of Amicus Wealth Management. “And if you create a budget, it creates awareness in where you’re spending or where your hard-earned dollars are going.”
Budgeting also includes your credit.
Financial advisors suggest tackling cards with higher interest rates first. You’ll also have to make some small changes, which will pay off in the long run.
“Let’s say you spend $8 a day for lunch Monday through Friday. That’s about $40 a week, which turns into a little over $2,000 a year,” Califa said. “Can you imagine if you had an extra $2,000 in your pocket? It can be a huge difference, so little sacrifices here and there make a huge difference at the end.”
And, there are other ways you can plan ahead so you don’t go into debt again next Christmas.
“Instead of waiting for the end of the year to start buying everything, buy a little bit throughout the year. Keep an eye out on sales, and once you purchase that, just stick it in the back of the closet until you need it,” Califa said.
Luckily, you have another year to prepare for the next holiday shopping spree.
Just don’t get in over your head.