After almost another full year dealing with the pandemic, we are all looking forward to the upcoming holiday season. Many Americans however, are still dealing with financial setbacks such as loss of employment, reduced income, or other unanticipated expenses, which makes it difficult to avoid carrying holiday debt into the New Year. We invite you to explore some tips designed to alleviate stress during the holidays.
- Set a holiday spending limit and stick to it.
During the holidays, it can be easy to let spending get out of control. Put a cap on your spending by creating a holiday budget or spending plan. Be sure to factor in additional non-gift related expenses that can easily add up – things like holiday photos, decorations, holiday attire, food, and even shipping of gifts to loved ones who don’t reside locally.
- Avoid putting holiday debt on high interest rate credit cards – unless you’re able to pay them off by the due date.
Basically, avoid spending money you don’t have. While it’s easy to do, putting holiday spending on credit cards can be risky – especially if you don’t have the funds to pay it off when the bill comes due. According to a recent survey, Americans rack up an average of $1,325 in holiday debt every year. Of those surveyed, 75% said they wouldn’t be able to pay it off in January, with 15% saying they only intended to pay the minimum monthly payment. In case you’re wondering, that translates to over $600 in interest, and 5 years of making payments – ouch! Check out GreenPath’s Debt Pay-Off Calculator and begin journey towards financial freedom.
- Trade pricey for priceless.
A great gift doesn’t have to be expensive. Think outside the box and treat your loved ones to a thoughtful gift that generates excitement without the price tag. Maybe that’s a handmade item, DIY project, a fun experience, a coupon book, or just the gift of your time. Check out this blog article on GreenPath Financial Wellness’ site for some creative ways to spread holiday joy – without spending too much cash.
- Elevate your fraud protection skills.
The holiday season is a time when people are more vulnerable to identity theft scams. Not only are they making more purchases than at any other time of the year, but they are often distracted when doing so. According to a recent credit bureau study, 43% of holiday shopping identify theft occurs online. As the pandemic environment continues to drive more consumers to shop online, it’s important to be aware of the best ways to protect yourself from identify theft:
- Be vigilant when shopping online and only shop on secure sites with the lock symbol.
- Use strong account passwords and change them often.
- Set transaction alerts on your NextMark account both for debit and credit cards.
- Be wary of enticing offers that force you to act quickly. Most often they are too good to be true and can put you at risk for identify theft or fraud.
- Monitor your credit report. You can obtain one free credit report, per credit bureau annually at: com.
- Visit NextMark’s Fraud Protection page for additional tips.