November arrived very quickly this year. And with November comes the holiday season. Whether you are an early bird or last minute shopper, it’s the season for additional expenses. Of course, when prepping for the holidays it’s important to review your spending plan, what you can afford and ways to save over the season. It’s also important to maintain your credit health. In this blog, I’ll review key steps to get your credit in shape during this busy holiday season.
Make Current Payments On-Time
On time payments are the most important part to maintain credit health. During this hectic season, make it a priority to pay all current debts (loans, credit cards, mortgage) on time. For bills on autopay, check your account before the due dates to ensure funds are available. If the payment is manual, set up reminders with the bill due dates so they can be paid on time too.
Watch Credit Card Usage
Be aware of your credit cards usage during the holidays. If paying for holiday items such as gifts, food or travel on a credit card, make sure to account how much the balances build. Knowing your balance helps in several ways. First, by keeping the balances low, the monthly payment is more manageable in the new year. Second, keeping your balance low compared to your credit limit, will keep your credit health stable versus having high balances on your accounts. Third, by limiting credit usage you will save on high interest rates due when paying back the balance. Make sure to refer to your credit card app or statement often so you know your balance, your credit limit, and what your interest rate is.
Avoid the Temptation of New Credit
Opening a new line of credit seems to be more available as every day passes. I expect that to continue this holiday season. Whether it’s in the mail with cash back offers or a discount on the total purchase by enrolling in a store card, offers are everywhere. Regardless of where it pops up, be very cautious of opening new lines of credit this season. First, new credit lines taken out, during these next few months, can impact your credit negatively. It’s also a new bill, that will be owed in the coming year. So make sure you can manage the additional payments. This applies to Buy Now/Pay Later credit lines. They report to the credit bureaus and will be another bill to account for as well. A good rule is only open a new line of credit when needed.
To wrap it up, the holiday season, unique for everyone, is a time for celebration and cherishing loved ones. What unites us all is the opportunity to get our credit in shape during this holiday season.
We at Apprisen are here to help you improve your credit health and offer support to help you manage debts too.
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