November 28, 2012

November 28, 2012
10 Holiday Shopping Credit Card Mistakes
Part 2

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Wednesday and we have almost made it through the middle of another work week. I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me as we get ready for the upcoming World AIDS Day.

This is also the time of year when most people shop for gifts for the holidays. Yesterday, I started blogging about how to avoid making mistakes when shopping with your credit cards during the holidays. Today I will finish up the topic with another five ways to help protect yourself and save money when shopping online.

Get a Costly Cash Advance
6. Banks and credit card issuers also love to send tons of cash-advance offers in the mail during the holiday season. Don't take the bait. Cash advance fees, which can run 3 percent or more, and high interest charges can make these "deals" far less than spectacular.

Put Your Child or Grandchild On Your Credit Card
7. It's a joy to be able to give generously to your kids or grandkids during the holidays, but don't make the mistake of putting them as a user on your card if they aren't ready for the responsibility. Their idea of sticking to a budget or using the card only for emergencies may not coincide with yours. You could wind up with a shockingly large bill when your credit card statement arrives in the new year.

Use Credit to Pay for Layaway
8. Layaway can help you stay out of debt by letting you pay for holiday purchases in cash over time. This year, many retailers have extended their layaway options to last as long as two or three months. But if you ultimately don't pay in enough cash to pick up your layaway purchases on time, and you're forced to pay for them at the last minute with a credit card, you've negated the whole benefit of layaway.

Make Minimum Payments
9. Making minimum payments on your credit cards is almost never a good idea, mainly because you'll spend a lot longer time in debt, and you'll pay a lot more in finance charges. Ideally, after doing your shopping this holiday season, you'll be able to pay your credit card balances in full. If that's not possible, plan to charge no more than what you can pay off in three or four months.

Miss a Payment
10. Being 30 days late and missing a single payment on a credit card can drop your credit score by 50 to 100 points. You never want your holiday indulgences to crimp your ability to pay your bills on time. In today's financial environment, your credit score matters tremendously: It affects your ability to get loans, rent an apartment or buy a home, and even obtain secure affordable car insurance rates. Enjoy the holidays as much as you'd like, but make merry within reason. Use your credit cards responsibly and make all required payments on time.

Hope these tips help start the new year off right for you while still having a beary great holiday season!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab