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How to protect your credit over Christmas

How to protect your credit over Christmas

Christmas is not a time for budgeting and being sensible. It’s usually an expensive time of year where some people have difficulty not overspending. Considering the year we have had in 2020, this Christmas is likely to be a bigger deal than others, which could make matters worse.

This year has already been something different. Let’s make Christmas different too by not going into debt while still enjoying the holidays.

Here’s how.

Set a Christmas spending budget

Budgeting isn’t the most exciting Christmas preparation ever but it’s an essential one. Much like defrosting the turkey properly before cooking, a budget prepares the way for an enjoyable holiday.

Make a gift budget, a food and drink budget and perhaps an entertainment budget. Make sure your budget does not go over the amount you have to spend while giving you enough to enjoy Christmas.

Set aside all December bill payments

If possible, set aside as many bill payments for December as possible, as early as possible. For any bills that don’t use automatic payments, make sure you have money set aside to pay them.

Nothing dings a credit score like a missed payment and lenders or credit reference agencies won’t give you a pass just because it’s the holiday season.

Avoid impulse buys with the 24 hour rule

If you survived Black Friday intact, let’s keep up the good work over Christmas. With all those Christmas commercials, pester power from children and lots of sales and bargains to be had, it can be tough to avoid impulse buying.

If you’re tempted to buy something, don’t do it there and then. Leave it overnight or for a full 24 hours and then see if you still want to buy it. It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep does for impulses!

It’s the thought that counts

For some, Christmas is a time of extravagance and getting caught up in buying gifts to keep up with others or to be seen as equally generous as family and friends. That’s fine if you can afford it but not so good if you can’t.

Consider a secret Santa style Christmas instead. Set a small budget for your family and tell everyone they have to stick to it or else. It’s more fun trying to come up with a thoughtful gift for a small budget than just clicking Buy It Now on a website!

Watch out for Christmas scams

Christmas is a lucrative time for scammers as well as retailers. Be careful with links within emails, buying items from random websites and ignore the deluge of spam and social media marketing messages.

Only buy from stores you know or that have positive reviews and use your credit card wherever possible for a little extra protection.

 

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