By Tatiana Simone
With the holiday season quickly approaching, being financially prepared for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas and finally the New Year will have you reevaluating your expenses. As a consumer it’s beneficial to know how to stay in good financial standing – even after blowing cash during America’s busiest season for consumers. Millennial money expert, Loren Entsuah of Entsuah Financial Group wants to help you get on track before cashing out on holiday deals with five money managements tips:
1. Open Department Store Cards
They usually on average can help you save up to 20 percent off your purchase total. But pay it back immediately to watch a hike in your credit score.
2. Use Black Friday & Cyber Monday as the “official” unofficial start of your holiday shopping.
Consider doing more shopping online with your holiday credit card to make it easier to stick to the budget. Shipping and handling charges can add up to the same amount you’d spend on gas and power snacks driving all over town to shop, plus you can avoid the headaches and stress of packed malls and post offices.
3. Before you go shopping however, write out a complete budget for the holiday season.
Knowing how much you can spend on gifts, décor and meals will help keep your spending habits on track.
4. Understanding Credit Card Utilization
If you are going to use your pre existing credit cards or the newly acquired one, make sure whatever you charge on your card you have half of that in cash and apply it on your balance immediately. This allows more cash flow for utilization and sometimes the prompt payment allows for credit limit increases.
5. Don’t ignore your statement until after the holiday season.
It can be all-too-tempting to put your credit card balance out of your head and only focus on parties and presents during the holidays. Resist the temptation to “just deal with it after New Year’s” or you could seriously overspend your holiday budget. Call your customer service line or check the balance online if your card offers online account management at least a couple times during the holidays to get a reality check on how much you’re shelling out for the season.
This article originally appeared Michigan Chronicle.