Money Saving Tips

How to Save Money on Your Credit Card This Christmas

How to Save Money on Your Credit Card This Christmas
Written by Irina Vasilescu

When you go shopping as early as November, the window displays are already decked in all their holiday glory. Retailers do this to remind consumers to start doing their holiday shopping right now. Once you see such signs that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year are all near, you can easily go into panic-buying mode, get your credit card out and buy everything that you think you need to complete your gift-giving list.

Although there’s absolutely nothing wrong in spreading the holiday cheer, there is no reason why you should break the bank, either. Worse, there are those who find themselves still paying for their holiday purchases a year or so later and this is something that you definitely don’t want to do. By knowing how to use your credit card wisely, you can actually maximize the benefits that you will reap as a consumer from all those holiday shopping promos.

How to Use Your Credit Card to Save Money on Holiday Shopping

If you are using your credit card for your holiday shopping, the good news is that there are ways for you to maximize the benefits that you can earn from it as a consumer. To give you an idea, here are the top ten ways for you to use your credit card to save money on holiday shopping:

1. Always make a price comparison before buying an item

Going comparison shopping is a rule that you should be following when buying any item in the first place – whether using your credit card or paying in cash. Let’s say that you are looking for a special Christmas gift for your mom and you’re thinking about giving her a tablet computer which she can use to play games during idle times. You can go comparison shopping by checking on the prices of different brands and models of tablet computers online.

While you’re at it, also check out the reviews so you’d know that you are getting the best quality product for your mom. After doing your research, you can narrow down your choices to two or three brands and models, then take your pick from there. You can use price, quality or both as basis. Doing your homework before buying a product is a great way to ensure that you are maximizing the use of your credit card once you use it to pay for your purchases.

2. Check if your credit card company offers the return feature

One of the many benefits of using your credit card to make purchases is that it offers features like return, price and purchase protection. Here’s a quick definition of the three terms:

  • Price Protection is a credit card feature which allows a credit card holder to ask for a refund of the price difference if an item bought goes down in price within a specific time frame.
  • Return Protection is a credit card feature which gives consumers a 60 to 90 day period for them to return or exchange items. Most retailers take advantage of the busyness of the holiday season so they refuse to accept returns or allow exchanges for products bought. If you have a card with Return Protection, you can bring the item back to the retailer. If the retailer fails to accept the item, the credit card company can give you a refund for the purchase price.
  • Purchase Protection is a nifty feature which protects items from theft or damage. This usually lasts for 90 days from the date of purchase.

As you can see, it is your rights as a consumer which these three protection features are, well, protecting. This means that when choosing a credit card, it does pay to look for such features so that you can maximize its benefits especially during the rush of the holiday season.

3. Use the extended warranty offer

When buying big-ticket items like your living room television, washing machine or refrigerator, you will usually be offered an extended warranty. These are really pricey so customers on a budget typically say no. However, if you do have a credit card which has an extended warranty feature, you can have a one-year extension of the manufacturer’s warranty for one year. The condition is that you need to put the entire purchase on the card.

4. Maximize your cash back rewards

Cash back rewards usually come in the form of a statement balance which should be part of the monthly bill you’re receiving. Depending on the bank or credit union which issued your credit card, there are cash back rewards that you can earn.

Typically, you need to meet the minimum threshold amount or have a certain amount of purchases before the cash rewards can be applied. Upon application of the points, you can get a significant discount to be applied on the items that you recently bought using your cards.

5. Earn discounts from shopping portals

Buyers are taking full advantage of the ultimate convenience offered by online shopping these days, so you can easily find discount cards from your favorite sites. Most credit card companies are affiliated with retail businesses and together, they offer discounts when members shop through their site. Typically, you need to go to the shopping portal instead of the store’s direct website – but doing so will earn you a discount when using your card.

6. If you really need to buy an item, make sure to use a card which has 0% interest charges

APR is the Annual Percentage Rate on your credit card. Simply put, it’s the percentage of interest charged on your account. If you were unable to pay your credit card bill in full, the bank will charge you with a certain percentage as interest rate. There are different APRs for penalties, cash advances and most banks offer a promotional or introductory APR where it is lowered or 0 for a certain time frame.

It applies specifically for balance transfers, cash advances or purchases made which are paid on instalment basis. If you cannot help but buy big ticket items or a slew of purchases and you know that you cannot pay the balance in full next month, always use the card which has 0% APR.

7. When travelling for the holidays, use hotel discounts

If you’re flying to be with family for the holidays, don’t forget to use those frequent flyer points on your credit card. You can also use the card for discounts and upgrades on hotels – which are offered aplenty by such establishments during the holidays.

Check if your credit card has a hotel co-brand and use the benefits when booking. When booking flights, you can use your travel rewards and redeem the accumulated points via their travel portal site. It’s best to secure your airline tickets six to seven weeks in advance, and book your accommodations accordingly so you can get the best rates.

8. Shop using cards with special deals and discounts

Some credit cards specialize in rewards points, some in frequent flyer miles, others in store discounts. If you’re a frequent shopper, you’d want to look for a card which offers discounts and extra rewards for shopping.

Depending on the brand of card that you have, you might get discounts only at certain stores, online stores, department store chains, etc. Based on your buying habits and store preferences, choose a card that will give you the most set of rewards especially once you start with your holiday shopping.

9. Make a list for your holiday shopping and stick to it

Again, whether you are using cash or your credit card to pay for those holiday purchases, it’s a good idea to make a list of the people to whom you are giving gifts to. Stick to your list and do not go over budget.

Use your imagination to think of personalized yet affordable gifts that you can give to your loved ones. Make it a rule not to put all your holiday purchases on your credit card – and realize that you would have to pay for everything until the next holiday arrives.

10. Think twice before you swipe

Finally, think twice before swiping that plastic card. To resist the temptation of always finding yourself adding items to your shopping cart, do not save your credit card information to websites. When going to a store, carry just enough cash to buy what you need and leave your cards at home.

Leverage your credit card rewards and take advantage of holiday promos. You can also go online and choose which cards to use for overseas spending; get overall rewards; use for balance transfers; clearing debts; and spending on big purchases.

Credit cards need not be a necessary evil to deal with during the holidays. By knowing how to take full advantage of the rewards offered by your credit card company, you can actually turn things around and use its shopping benefits.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.

12 Comments

  • Thank you for sharing this article especially during the festive season. It is slowly becoming the norm to get new everything for the Christmas. Persons tend to ask when are you going shopping and not ‘if’ you are going. The curtains, the floor mats, bathroom just about everything is changes out for most persons during this time. All i do is wash and replace that is all i can afford. Friends may come over and cast condescending glances at the house but it is better to do this and be able to eat the day after Christmas. It is without a doubt the best time of the year but we have to be careful how far we go in celebration of the season. We have to be mindful of the rest of the year to come and how we plan to get through it financially

  • Great tips. Many people are not very aware of their card benefits. I know I wasn’t for a long time (I still probably don’t know all of the ins and outs!). I do use cards at the holidays and then pay them off immediately so I get the benefits from spending.

  • One trick I learned to save on Christmas gifts as well as any items I’m needing for myself is to go through a site like swagbucks where I can get points per dollar on the purchases I am making, which are usually on sale for the holidays, then pay with an amazon rewards credit card, so I am getting double rewards and a sale price. This helps me out a lot. Even though I don’t spend much per person, buying for 5 people ads up.

  • The holidays are the perfect time to maximize any cashback rewards, especially if your creditor has an expiration policy on existing rewards before the new year starts. Anyways, you can get a decent chunk of your purchases back through cashback rewards, especially if you combine the card’s cashback with a site like eBates for online purchases. You could get back around 10% or more, depending upon where you shop.

    • That’s actually pretty awesome. I love shopping on holidays, and maximizing on cashback rewards is absolutely brilliant. I always just though of them as a bonus but taking advantage of them sounds quite nice.

  • I love and only use my card when there is a deal attached to it or “cash back” rewards. From personal experiences, I’ve learned this method is best. In the past, I had to pay additional interest without any perks and I ended up losing big time. Black Friday is in a few days and I made sure I withheld from heavy purchases just to make room for the sales on Friday. Happy face for me!

  • I actually give myself a very strict limit on my credit cards during the holidays. Like others, I use the cards that offer the best cash back rewards. I also put a certain amount of cash away to match that budget so that I can immediately pay off the bill that I incur on the credit card.

  • I had no idea that credit cards could even have purchase price and return protection built in. I knew that there was a warranty type thing. I’m going to have to check and see what other little bonuses I can eke out of my credit card since I do almost all of my purchases (groceries, gas, shopping) through it.

  • I frequently use my credit card to get free movie tickets! For every dollar I spend using my credit card, I get one point, and every thousand points is one adult ticket. Sure, it doesn’t seem a lot, but I also use my credit card to pay my tuition so it’s already a few tickets right there. It’s definitely a good investment!

    • That’s amazing. Honestly I believe I spend way too much money on just watching movies every month, and love anything to do with saving on them. I would love to do more research on this and get a bit of a discount on my movies as well.

  • I do comparison shopping all the time. Part of being frugal is knowing to do your research beforehand. I don’t just buy something willy nilly and regret it later when I find a better and cheaper alternative.

  • Shopping with cards with discounts is an amazing way to save money. I’m very glad that it was finally mentioned in this blog and I can’t get enough of it. Discounts can go up to hundreds when you shop with a certain card or make a certain card for a store, and it is an amazing way to save money.

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