Credit Card Use Dropped – Credit News

Have you been less comfortable pulling out your credit card for purchases lately? You’re not the only one. The Federal Reserve says that August was the third month in a row in which credit card use was down. Over the summer, credit card debt dropped from $883 million to $850 million. Experts believe that people are charging less because of fears of unemployment and because their wages are increasing at a slower rate than in the past. Plus, we’re all paying a bit more in Social Security taxes this year, so, paychecks are somewhat smaller.

No matter what the reasons, keeping your consumer debt low is a good idea. But, it can be tough to do heading into the holidays. Considering a cash-only Christmas? Here are some tips that can help:

Give Experiences

Research shows that the things that we do give us more pleasure than the things that we have. Get the most bang for your gift-giving buck by paying for recipients to have terrific experiences. Deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial offer discounted gift cards for everything from restaurant meals to skydiving. You may also find some great holiday deals by going directly to merchants. The recipient gets the pleasure of opening the gift, the anticipation of the exciting outing, the day itself and great memories.

Skip Black Friday

Every year, shoppers line up, sometimes days early, to get a chance at doorbuster sales. Stores are accommodating the fervor by starting the sales even earlier; many will open on Thanksgiving this year.

The Black Friday shopping frenzy is stressful and hectic. People spend more than they plan. Some sacrifice time spent with families in pursuit of expensive baubles.

But, research shows that the Black Friday prices are rarely the lowest ones of the year. Sit out the madness this year so that you can make more deliberate and informed choices about meaningful gifts.

Make a Deal with Your Spouse

If you are saving for a down payment on a house, consider making a pact with your spouse to keep spending reasonable. There are many ways to go about this. You can, together, make a large deposit into your house fund and consider it a gift to yourselves. Or, if opening something from under the tree is really important to you, go for practical gifts. He might need a new wallet, and Christmas is a great time to get one. She might appreciate some plush new towels to replace ones that are on their last legs.

Most of all, remember that large gifts are not an obligation. Keep your spending in line with your beliefs and your means. You will be happier and more stable in the long run and more likely to enjoy the holiday season.