As the holiday season approaches, you may feel like you need get all of your loved ones something nice. Although this is a kind gesture, you need to be careful about spending. The holiday season is a common time for shoppers to run up their credit card bills, resulting in a damaged credit score.

Here are some tips on managing your credit this holiday season:

Know where you stand

Before the holidays come, check your current credit score. You can use this beginning score as a benchmark of where you should be at your next credit card bill. Another reason you should check this is to make sure there are no errors on your credit report. A minor error could result in your card getting declined when buying holiday gifts.

Avoid store credit cards

It’s tempting to open a store credit card when the cashier says “you can save ‘x’ amount on this purchase if you open a card with us”. This can mislead you by thinking you are saving money, but interest rates can quickly cause you to loose more money in the long run. Store credit cards have significantly higher interest rates than traditional credit cards. Another reason to avoid them is based on their low credit limit. If you end up spending an amount close to your limit this results in high credit utilization, hurting your credit score.

Make payments on time

This is a tip you should practice year round. Making payments on time is the biggest factor in maintaining a good credit score. With a hectic holiday season it’s easy to forget things like making a credit card payment. Set alerts via text or email to remind you to make these payments.

Make rational decisions

Impulse buying is common during the holiday season and you should try to avoid it to maintain a good credit score. A good way of avoiding the impulse purchases is to write out your necessary expenses for the holiday season. These might include gifts for family and friends, travel expenses, decoration expenses and entertainment expenses. You will know what you need to buy and also an expected amount of what you will be spending for this holiday season.

These four simple tips can really affect your credit score this holiday season. Have more questions? Check out some more blogs about credit tips by the Housing Buzz team!