To avoid splurging, consumers can use strategies such as using their credit cards to purchase gift cards or prepaid cards that fit their budget. Those cards can then be used for buying gifts. In addition, before hitting the stores, shoppers should check their card's billing information to determine how long they have to pay off the balance before interest charges start to accrue.
TransUnion also offers the following advice:
- Double check credit card rates and current credit card debt before shopping
- Monitor credit reports to ensure information is accurate
- Be aware that opening new accounts, such as applying for retail store cards to get discounts, can cause a temporary dip in credit scores
Should consumers find they have overspent and are unable to pay off their balance in full, transferring balances to a credit card with a zero-interest introductory period may be one strategy to minimize costs while paying off the debt.