By Tarra Wills
It’s that time of year again where everyone is gearing up for the holiday season. According to the National Retail Federation report, the average person will spend $1,048 during the 2019 holiday shopping season. Of that amount, $659 of that will be spent on gifts for family, friends or co-workers.
We have some advice for you. Before you set out on your shopping adventures consider these suggestions:
- Set a realistic budget that fits within your financial means – and stick to it
- Research the benefits provided to you from the credit cards you intend to use for your holiday shopping. We know cash is always best when it comes to avoiding debt, but your credit card benefits may offer you some interesting assurances and perks for your purchases - that might even save you money in the long run.
For example, most electronics come with a standard one-year manufacturer warranty. However, you may have a card in your wallet that has an Extended Protection plan that can extend the coverage period of the U.S. manufacturer’s warranty offering at no additional cost on your purchase; no need to buy the extended warranty offered to you at the register during checkout.
There are also benefits that protect your purchases in other ways, such as Purchase Protection, which covers new purchases against damage or theft, up to a specified amount per claim, per year. In fact, with Porch Piracy on the rise, some Purchase Protection benefits cover this issue, too. Return Protection is another product that can reimburse you for items that the store won’t take back.
Travel this time of year always increases from late November into the New Year. Along these lines, when you plan your travel consider that you may have a card that offers some great travel benefits. Some of those benefits may include Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, Lost Luggage, Bag Delay and Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver. Other cards also offer Priority Pass, a Travel Benefit that provides airport lounge access. The list of travel benefits that you could possibly have goes on and on.
Of course, there is always that small print: Specific eligibility requirements for these benefits must be met before coverage can be applied.
Keep this in mind: Holiday spending doesn’t need to be stressful. Set a budget that you can stick to, and do some research on your credit cards before heading out to the store. Know that you may have a suite of benefits in your pocket that may just take the sting out of holiday spending and traveling.
Happy Holidays and good shopping!