A few weeks ago, my top picks were all about holiday shopping tips. Now, as the deadline for buying gifts for all your loved ones tiptoes closer, some of us need advice on surviving the mayhem more than ever. This new set of blog posts from the past week will help you be a smarter shopper and help you rely less on credit this holiday season.
1. If you can’t stand the packed malls during the holidays, you’re probably doing most of your gift shopping online with your credit card. Be careful, though. As Christmas and Hanukkah creep closer, so do the shipping deadlines. WalletPop provides a list of some of the most popular online retailers’ cutoff dates for receiving items by Christmas.
2. Squawkfox is horrified at a pitch from a PR person for a shredder that specializes in getting rid of evidence from a spending spree, including credit card bills and statements. Destroying your physical holiday shopping bills won’t make them go away.
3. Mrs. Micah has a great follow-up post to Squawkfox’s, where she explains what you should do if you find yourself in trouble after a shopping spree with your plastic.
4. Jenna at Ask Mr. Credit Card explains why she is opting to have a credit-free Christmas, and shares why you might want to, as well.
5. The Digerati Life provides tips on surviving the holidays on a tight budget. Some of my favorite advice is to plan how much you will spend in advance, and stick to it. If you think that will be too hard, consider taking that amount of cash to the mall with you and leaving the tempting plastic at home.
6. Well-Heeled, With a Mission says during the holidays, it may be tempting to purchase items that are deeply discounted. But if you don’t love it, don’t buy it — it’s not a deal if you didn’t need that item in the first place! Wait until you see something you can’t live without, and then don’t feel so bad about spending a little more on it.
7. With credit cards, it’s easy to live above your means, especially when you feel pressure to impress people or keep up with the Joneses. Blueprint for Financial Prosperity discusses the four things we are convinced we need to spend big money on when we really could be saving.
8. The Freakonomics blog discusses a study about minimum payments on credit cards. Regardless of what the minimum payment amount is, many people choose to only pay it, even if they can afford more. It’s important to always pay off as much as you can, not just your minimum payment — especially if you find yourself in major post-holiday debt.
9. Did you get a Christmas bonus from your employer? Wise Money Matters says it may be tempting to spend it all on shopping for gifts, but there are much better ways you can use it, such as starting your debt snowball.