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Credit card strategies for Christmas shopping

Check your credit card limit before you shop If you use more than 30% of your credit limit, your credit score could drop. This is important to remember if you’re planning to refinance your mortgage or get an auto loan soon.
Stick to your budget! Make a list of everyone to buy a gift for and decide how much you’ll spend. Remember tips for your newspaper carrier and hairstylist.
Monitor accounts online Check your credit card accounts online to spot identity theft early.
Say no to retail credit cards Retail cards usually have high interest rates. Even if you save something off your initial purchase, it’s best to say no.
Take advantage of cash back cards Some cash back credit cards have 5% bonus categories.
Use a credit card for online purchases Use the Internet to find the best deal. Also, using a credit card gives you more consumer protection.
Track your spending It’s a no brainer. If you don’t know how much you’re spending you are unlikely to stay within budget. Use free money management software or keep receipts to keep a running total. If you go over budget you’ll carry a balance and pay interest.
Use a credit card with low interest If you must use credit ensure it’s on a low interest card.
Put away the cards when you reach your budget This is essential. When your spending reaches your budget limit, walk away from the credit cards.


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