7 days to go, which is more full, you or your credit card?

17th December 2011  

Looking toned in your tux, dazzling in your little black dress! When we’re already feeling uncomfortable about the amount of mince pies and Christmas cake we’ve managed to consume in the last 2 weeks, just to really make us feel guilty this week the media is crammed with pre-Xmas wonder diets.

If we could be honest with ourselves, we all know already if we want to look buff we need to do more and eat less.

We can of course apply the same principle of festive restraint to our personal finances, and try to prevent that post-Christmas bulge in our credit card statement. Watch out for these festive financial temptations that will be hard to work off in the New Year!

Credit card temptation No. 1 – The ‘Perfect’ Home

Your siblings are coming to stay in a few days. Your Christmas decorations are years old. Your settee is saggy, your curtains shapeless and your carpets have seen better days. You see loads of 0% interest credit deals on offer, isn’t it so tempting to put it all right just in time for Christmas.

Cut the credit calories

Christmas is about friends and family, not stunning interior design. Each time you apply for credit, the lender will search your credit report. Don’t forget that leaves an imprint that other lenders will see. If you make several applications in a short period, this will ring alarm bells that you’re living beyond your means, or that these applications are fraudulent. You may well be hurting your credit score as well as your New Year bank balance.

Credit card temptation No. 2 – The post ‘in-laws’ New Year get-away

You’re exhausted and stressed from the run-up to the big day. 3 days with your Mother-in-Law’s fashion tips, and all that washing up to consider. A weekend in a health-spa or a shopping trip to the City sales with a night a luxury hotel is just what you need.

Cut the credit calories

Christmas and New Year breaks are considerably more expensive than taking a break when the holidays are over and everyone else has gone back to work. If this appeals, you may want to set aside a little of your Christmas budget and enjoy a post New Year indulgence instead. You’ll deserve it, just look to get value for money.

Credit temptation No. 3 – The kids

Several surveys have shown that sadly children’s happiness at Christmas is directly linked to material goodies, and whether Father Christmas brings them what they want. This is usually something that pushes the budget, so how do you resist their imploring little faces?

Cut the credit calories

Similar surveys show that kids also love family outings and playing outside. So put away your wallet and go for a snowy walk in the woods. Cosy- up with a home-made picnic, and an old-fashioned flask of tea with fresh-baked biscuits. You can always tell them that this is how people spent Christmas when your parents were children!

Credit temptation No 4 – The discount deals

You’ve already got a great pile of presents and the assistant at the check-out suggests a store card will get you a TEN % discount if you sign up for one today. You’re going to be saving money, so why not?

Cut the credit calories

If you really need a new card, think about it first. Do an analysis of your spending profile. Do you want cashback, rewards or simply low fees and interest? Store cards rarely offer as good a rate of interest as mainstream credit cards.

You’re likely to stand a much better chance of qualifying for the market leading deals if you tidy up your credit report first, so go through it carefully – look for accounts that have been duplicated, look for incorrect information or inconsistencies and take them up with the relevant lender. (Remember it can take 2 – 3 months for information to be updated on your credit file from when you address any incorrect information with a lender or utility company).

Close unused accounts and register to vote at your current address (lenders use the electoral roll to check that you live where you say you do). An Experian Credit Score can help you see how an application might fare – you can get it for FREE with a 30-day trial of CreditExpert*.

Credit temptation No.5 – The new credit card

So many gifts to buy, so many parties to dress for and potentially such a big credit card bill! Why not just take out a new credit card and pay for it all later?

Cut the credit calories

New research shows that if you borrow just £500 on a credit card with an average 18.12% interest rate and make only minimum repayments, it could take ten years to pay off. One quick way to see whether you could end up in this trap is to take a look at your credit report. This personal history of your cards, loans, mortgage and repayment record will give you a snapshot of what you already owe and shows whether you can afford to take on more debt. It’s FREE to see your Experian credit report with a 30-day trial of CreditExpert*.

*New customers only. Monthly fee applies after free trial.

Enjoyed this Post?

Subscribe to our daily post, Follow us on Twitter, Join us on Facebook

Follow us on TwitterJoin us on Facebook
Recommend this post

Simply give this post a vote on Google+, Facebook or Twitter to tell your friends

Follow us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterSubcribe to Compare credit cards feed
Subcribe to Cardchoices email alert