NEW YORK ( LowCards.com) -- The holidays likely mean plenty of charges on your credit card, especially if -- like so many people -- you let the emotions of gift giving overcome your financial common sense.
Here are 10 credit card tips to make this an affordable holiday season and to help you avoid paying for Christmas 2013 long after the gifts are forgotten.
1. Make a budget and a shopping list. Start with what you spent last year and keep a record of all gift purchases and holiday expenses -- from postage stamps to the food for the office party. It is hard for shoppers to make a budget and easy to underestimate their spending. According to the National Retail Federation, the average holiday shopper will spend $737.95 on gifts, decorations, greeting cards and more, two% less than the $752.24 they spent last year.
2. Change your shopping habits now before you get into the spirit of the season. If you can't afford to pay off your credit card in November, you can't afford to add more to it in December.
3. The best way to stick to your budget and avoid impulse spending is to pay in cash. People who pay in cash spend less than those that pay with plastic. Paying cash is a painful reminder of how much things actually cost.
4. Verify the credit limit and your balance on every credit card you use. Charging to your limit can trigger a lower credit score and a higher APR.