If you need to tighten your belt this holiday season, you’re not alone. A Gallup poll found that 28% of Americans will be spending less on holiday gifts this year. It’s the first time that year-over-year shopping is predicted to decrease in more than ten years.
It’s hard to spend less, especially during the holiday season. For that reason, charging everything to a credit card is tempting, but it’s also the quickest way to accumulate debt. Americans took on an average of $1,325 of holiday debt in 2019, according to a MagnifyMoney survey. Most of that money was credit card debt, and 40% was left unpaid after three months, racking up interest month after month. If you are currently burdened by credit card debt, we can help. With our balance transfer option you can move your current credit card balance to a CPS IBEW FCU MasterCard. A low interest rate and $0 annual fee will help you pay off your debt faster and free up cash flow.
Take time to determine your budget to prevent overspending. Then, if you do need a little extra cash, consider low-interest options. As a CPS IBEW Federal Credit Union member, you could access that cash through flexible loan options like our Skip-a-Payment Program for current loan holders, Fast Cash Loan for up to $750 with a 6-month term, or a special 12-month term Holiday Loan.
Another way to “discover” more cash is to refinance your car, which could save you a surprising amount of money each month. And if you’re on the hunt for a new car this holiday season, consider the following money-saving tips:
• Get pre-approved for an auto loan. Simply apply online, receive a response the next business day, and walk onto the car lot knowing how much you can spend, which can increase your negotiating power. If you’re offered a “zero percent financing” through the car dealership, take pause. Over the life of the loan, a low-interest auto loan through CPS IBEW FCU can likely save you more money.
• Understand the cons of leasing. It can be difficult to lease a vehicle if you have a less-than-ideal credit score. If you are accepted, you could be asked to put down a substantial down payment or security deposit. Plus, leasing can put you into a cycle where you never stop paying for a vehicle, and you never own your car outright (which means no equity and no trade-in value).
• Consider used versus new. Purchasing a second or third car for the family? How about your teenager’s first car? Buying a used car can be a great way to save, but don’t buy just any used car. Certified used cars offer the best assurance of safety and quality. As a CPS IBEW FCU member, you have an additional superpower: access to quality certified used cars available through Enterprise Car Sales.
And finally, be careful when shopping online this year as a few extra Grinches are lurking, ready to steal your holiday cheer. “They're seeking easy targets for phishing, ransomware, credit card fraud, identity theft, and other nefarious schemes,” cautions Consumer Reports. Follow the organization’s tips on safe holiday cyber shopping, starting with creating strong passwords for store websites, being careful about what retail apps you download, and avoiding links within suspicious sales and shipping notification emails and texts.
‘Tis the season to be merry, but overspending can cause significant problems for months to come. Start your New Year right by keeping your financial standing intact. It’s a gift that keeps on giving.