That would be a title from Hallmark that can get you on your edge of your seat in anticipation of the ending. As an endless number of Hallmark Christmas movies play at this time of year so do the offers for spending on credit cards and offers to open credit cards. In these Hallmark movies the big city corporate executive finds themselves in a small-town community. This person is there for some reason to change the community for corporate profits. Spoiler Alert. But we know that the movie ends with this person leaving the big city for love and small-town charm. A happy ending every time. If only our holiday shopping and spending would have a happy ending every time. In the Credit Christmas story statistics show that consumer credit card debt climbs every year from mid-November through the end of the year. Consumers just can’t help themselves it’s in the holiday spirit. The deals are just too good to pass up… aren’t they? So, it’s time to load up on the purchases to fill the stockings and cover the bottom of the tree with gifts. But while were shopping there were those other items we should get, the new clothes, new tv’s, the new electronics, the new sports gear. Why not, we have credit cards, and we can figure it out later. Then the credit hangover comes at the beginning of the new year figuring out how pay it off.
Here are a few tips to make your Credit Christmas a Hallmark ending. Make a list of exactly what you are shopping for so you can’t get distracted by enticing offers. Look for the discounts as retailers need to move inventory and drive revenue. Remember if buying one item is good doesn’t mean buying two is a better deal. Use your credit cards wisely, make your credit cards work for you instead of against you. Use credit cards that will give you cash back or points to discounted travel assuming you are paying off the balances in full every month. Here is an important one, don’t be tempted by stores offering you discounts on your purchase if you open a store card. Two things will happen your credit score will be negatively impacted and the 20% plus interest rate on the store card will make your discount disappear very quickly. The last item is to have a plan up front on how you will pay off your purchases quickly. If you do that you certainly will have the Hallmark happy ending.
Rich Flanery is a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist and an Investment Adviser Representative. NMLS #256117. Branch location, 600 S. Saint Vrain Ave. #4, Estes Park, CO 80517. www.rockymountainlender.com.