Q: I’ve made my gift list and I’m checking it twice. But, I’m getting a bit panicky just thinking about how I’m going to pay for all this stuff! What’s the best way to get me through this expensive holiday shopping season?
A: Relax! You can keep your budget and your sanity, too! You can do it without having to dip into your savings or rack up a high-interest credit card bill that you’ll be paying off well into 2019. Instead, learn about your choices so you can spend responsibly and keep your holiday cheer all through the season.
Let’s explore your options and take a look at why they may or may not be right for you.
1. Low-interest credit cards
It’s never a good idea to rack up debt. However, if you can get your hands on a credit card that offers a low-interest rate, you can borrow the money to fund those purchases.
Nice: This can be a perfect solution for you if you have an excellent credit score and concrete plans to pay back the bill promptly.
Naughty: Don’t go this route if you have a poor track record of paying down your credit card bills. You might end up carrying that balance well into the New Year. You’ll continue to rack up interest charges that will make the total cost of your holiday expenses higher.
2. Personal loans
Anytime you need some money, you can contact United Texas Credit Union to apply for a personal loan. Our representatives are always happy to help, and you can walk out with the money you need to fund your holiday shopping shortly after starting your application.
Nice: Like all of our lending products, our personal loans have low-interest rates, which makes the payback plan affordable for almost any budget.
Naughty: If you’re already carrying a load of debt, don’t take on more just to get you through the holidays. Consider lower-cost gift ideas and focus on paying off debt.
3. Skip-a-Payment or Loan Extension
Here at United Texas Credit Union, we understand that holiday shopping can be expensive. That’s why we offer our own gift in October: the option to skip a monthly loan payment for extra cash flow. It’s more breathing room in your budget, just when you need it most! When we are not offering our promotional Skip-A-Payment programs, you may choose to do a Loan Extension, which is basically the same thing.
Nice: When you choose Skip-a-Payment, you’ll be able to pay for those presents without taking on new debt. No high-interest bills to haunt you through the first part of the year!
Naughty: When you choose to skip a monthly loan payment, you are essentially moving that payment to the end of the loan’s life. Every Skip-a-Payment will make the loan’s term one month longer. Consider this: If you skip just one payment a year on an auto loan, the loan will be six months longer than you’d originally anticipated.
4. Christmas Club Account
Don’t wait until Black Friday to start thinking about your holiday shopping. Pay a little bit toward this expensive season all year long by opening a Christmas Club Account. This way, when November rolls around, you’ll actually look forward to buying all those gifts instead of dreading it. Put the cheer back in your holiday season!
Nice: Christmas Club Accounts offer you a way to pay for your holiday shopping ahead of the season, instead of playing catch-up on your bills in the coming months. It’s the perfect way to take the stress out of the holidays!
Naughty: If you want to open a Christmas Club Account to help you make it through this season, you’re a little late. But, it’s never too early to start thinking about next year!
5. Deferred-interest financing
If you’re buying several large purchases at big-box stores, consider signing up for the retailers’ deferred-interest financing. Many chain stores offer customers this interest-free financing option so they can walk out with their purchase today, and pay for it tomorrow.
Nice: Deferred-interest financing works just like an interest-free line of credit, only it’s exclusive to the store selling the item. If you don’t like the idea of opening another credit card but you need that interest-free option, this can be the perfect solution for you.
Naughty: If you neglect to pay off your bill before the interest-free period expires, you’ll be slapped with sky-high interest fees. Worse yet, you’ll have to pay interest retroactively for the entire interest-free period.
If you’re still struggling to get through the holiday season, we can help! Contact United Texas Credit Union today. We’ll show you how to stay in the black when your holiday expenses have you seeing red.
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Your Turn: How do you pay for your holiday expenses? Share your method of choice and tell us why it works for you in the comments below.