How to avoid overspending in the festive season

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Losing control over the urge to spend on credit card purchases during the festival season is one of the most common follies. (Reuters) Losing control over the urge to spend on credit card purchases during the festival season is one of the most common follies. (Reuters)
SummaryThe lure of the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ is often too tempting.

Along with happy memories of festivals, most of us end up with several financial burden. While most people plan to exercise restraint in their festive spending, an overwhelming majority actually land up with empty bank balances or a heap of unpaid bills by the time the celebrations are over. Here are a few smart tips that anyone can certainly put to good use.

The Credit Card Trap

Losing control over the urge to spend on credit card purchases during the festival season is one of the most common follies. The lure of the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ is often too tempting. Here is a checklist of how you can put a cork to it.

* Use debit card whenever possible instead of the credit card.

* Chalk out a monthly usage limit for credit cards. Even during the festive celebrations never exceed this pre-decided amount.

* For minor expenditures such as dinners, movies, home decorations and purchase of sweets and gifts, pay in cash. Credit card swipe should be reserved for bigger expenses such as booking a vacation trip or buying air tickets.

* Make sure that you review the usage of your credit card every week.

Planning always saves

Everyone knows Christmas is on December 25 and Diwali falls in Autumn. You know the timing right from the start of the year but still only a handful actually plan their celebration expenses in advance. There can be tremendous amount of savings achieved through smart and careful planning. Here are some of the most significant savers.

* Holiday vacations if booked 3 months in advance can save you 30-40 per cent in accommodation, and airline tickets booked in advance by a month can save up to 50 per cent.

* Even registration for Christmas or New Year parties if done in advance can ensure that you have the reservation in the right place and that too at a discounted rate.

* Buying gifts in advance when there are sales or offers is yet another source of savings.

Festive season is the right time to express your affections and shower your loved ones with gifts. Despite being a noble social gesture this exercise can burn a big hole into your pocket.

So, here’s what you can do.

* List out the people who really count and deserve being gifted on the festive occasion. Prioritise the list in order to set limit for the price of the gift to be given

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