It is the holiday season and you are probably spending a little more money than usual. Consumers, on average, say they expect to spend at least $500 during the holiday season. Last year, the average consumer spent $1,017. I’m not a mathematician but what that tells me is that while we may have a number in mind, we rarely stick to it. Many people do not budget for this spending increase and it could result in making poor credit decisions. Don’t let the holidays affect your credit negatively.

Luckily for you Gumbonation, Mortgage Gumbo is here to give you 5 tips on how to manage your credit and even use your credit cards to your advantage this holiday season.

1.    Set a budget –
It is important to make sure you stick to this budget. If you go way over budget it may result in not being able to make credit card payments on time, thus causing interest to accrue.

2.    Know what your credit card limits are –
Credit card companies will charge an overage fee once you hit your monthly maximum. If you do not know your limit and you keep spending, those overage fees will build up over time and mean more money out of your pocket. Be smart, know your limit, and don’t pay overage fees.

3.    Do not chase discounts with store credit cards –
Yes, the offer of 10% off that purchase may sound enticing but how much are you really saving? Many of these store credit cards have a set-up fee that could come close to or exceed that 10% savings right off the bat. And think about it, do you really need another credit card and the temptation to charge your purchases?

4.    Use your cards with rewards –
Most credit card companies offer more points at this time of year. Pay attention to which cards are offering higher percentage rates on cash back or cards that are offering more points on particular purchases. The holiday season is a great time to build up your points for the future.

5.    Work the credit card system –
Make a major purchase the day after your billing cycle ends. If you use this strategic tip, you will have the whole cycle plus another 30 days until the credit card payment is due… more time to come up with the funds!

As always, if you have any questions about how your credit will affect your home buying experience or chances of getting a mortgage, please contact me, Dwayne Stein, at (504) 207-7600 or at dwayne.stein@myccmortgage.com.