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The holiday shopping season is gearing up, so it's a great time to make smart plans for your spending. If you're serious about making your money go as far as possible, one of the best ways is to use credit cards for your holiday spending.
Using credit cards can get you in trouble if you don't have your spending under control and you charge a lot that you can't repay.
But if you've got a holiday budget and aren't getting in over your head, using your card to cover your costs can have significant advantages. Here are three big reasons you should charge as much as you can this festive season.
1. You'll get rewarded for your spending
If you use cash back, mileage, or rewards cards to make your purchase, you'll benefit from all the holiday spending you have to do anyway. You may be able to reduce the costs of your purchases by a few percent if you earn cash back. You could also potentially score a free trip or some nice merchandise to reward yourself for all your hard work making the holidays special during these crazy times.
2. You can easily track your purchases
It's important to stay on budget during the holidays, so you need to be aware of how much you've spent on gifts. Tracking spending manually can be an effective way to keep tabs on how much you're buying, but it can be a pain, and many people won't bother -- or will forget to write down some purchases.
If you put everything on a credit card, you won't have this problem. You can easily check your online statement, and add up everything you've bought to make sure you aren't going overboard and see how much of your budgeted funds you have left. Many apps import your credit card transactions automatically, so it's even easier to tally up the running total.
3. You can take advantage of important purchase protections
Many credit cards offer some type of purchase protection.
For example, your card might provide price protection, and refund you some money if an item's price goes down a short time after you purchase it. Your card issuer will also go to bat for you if merchandise isn't delivered, or it arrives defective and the merchant won't give you a refund. You can dispute the charges and hopefully get your refund. And some cards provide theft or damage protection for expensive items you charge, paying you the costs to repair or replace the item if something happens shortly after you buy it.
You won't get these protections if you pay cash for an item, and they can really come in handy if there's a problem with that perfect present that in fact turned out to have some flaws.
By taking advantage of all your card has to offer, you can keep better control of your spending, get some money or rewards back as a bonus, and make sure you don't suffer big financial losses if something goes wrong with the gifts you buy. And those are reason enough to charge your purchases whenever you can during the biggest shopping season of the year.