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Top Tips to Avoid Frivolous Spending this Holiday

Chances are you are going to spend some money this holiday season. Whether you’re going on a holiday trip or buying Christmas gifts for your loved ones and friends, you will spend some money. But that doesn’t mean you have to face mounting credit card debt when the holiday is over.

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One way to avoid frivolous spending is to avoid being hit with unexpected overseas transaction or ATM fees. To help you further, here are additional tips to help you get on top of your spending and help you control credit card debt.

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1. Use cash whenever you can.

Unless you’re shopping online or doing activities that require the use of a credit card, try to use your own cash rather than your credit card. Paying with cash allows you to set a hard limit on how much you can spend on gifts. Whereas with a credit card, you can easily get distracted, because you’re just swapping.

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2. Use your credit cards responsibly.

If you have no choice, but to use your credit cards, then you should try to use them responsibly. Credit cards have several perks: travel reward points, bonus or cash back. Not using them when shopping can mean losing the convenience of these perks. But try to be disciplined in using them. That means, keep track of due dates and payments. Pay the balance in full every month to avoid paying interest. Avoid going over 30% of your card balance. And avoid cash advances because the interest rates are super high.

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3. Do a side hustle to make some extra cash.

Completing surveys online in your spare time is a great way to make some extra cash. This way, you will less likely rely on your credit cards for your purchase.

4. Always make a list of the items you will buy.

Planning the items you’re going to buy for your friends and loved ones is one of the best ways to avoid spending money on unnecessary things. So make a list and try to stick to buying items on that list.

5. Avoid ATM fees.

Chances are you might be travelling to another country this holiday season. If so, avoid using those overseas ATM. You can easily incur a fee up to 3% of your withdrawal amount. And this can really add up if you’re going to be away for a long period of time. If so, apply for a card that doesn’t charge a fee for making overseas purchases or ATM withdrawals. Or bring cash with you. But beware of the amount of money you can bring with you to that country.

If you’re going to stay in your country, avoid using ATMs that are not part of your bank’s network.

6. Start saving now.

If your holiday trip is months away, try to save now. First, set a savings goal to decide how much money you will need overall for your getaway, including cost of flight, hotel, and spending money. For example, if your holiday trip is in 10 months and you know the trip will cost you $3000, then you will need to save $300 a month.

Once you figure out how much you’ will need, you will need to start looking for the right online savings account to park your money. Online savings accounts offer the best interest rates because they little to zero overhead costs. Take CIT Bank for example, which offers a 2.20% APY on their online savings account.

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In short, enjoying time with your loved ones this holiday season is fun. But that doesn’t mean you have to be in debt when the fun is over. By following these tips, hopefully you’ll be able to have a post-holiday free of debt.

Stay on top of your debt with the Right Financial Advisor

You can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your saving goals and get your debt under control. Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

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