5 ways to get the most out of your credit card this Christmas
For Christmas shopping, Santa doesn't have to think about money – but you do. Here are 5 easy ways to save with a credit card these holidays.
It's no secret that every Christmas, plenty of us feel the cash crunch. Last year, Australians estimated they would spend $23.9 billion during the holiday season. That was up from approximately $17.3 billion in 2020. This year, we may be spending even more.
Purchasing presents and decorations for the home, stocking up on food and other supplies – well, it all adds up quickly. Worse still, it can leave you with a financial hangover that hits a lot harder – and lasts a lot longer – than the morning after the office party.
That's a Christmas gift no one wants. But with almost 5 million Aussies dealing with some kind of Christmas-related debt, it's clear that it needs to be tackled responsibly.
But the good news is it doesn't have to be this way. With the right combination of responsible spending and effective repayment plans, you can enjoy Christmas to the fullest without the excess expense.
So let's take a look at 5 ways you can get the most out of your credit card this Christmas.
1. Leverage your credit card features
People are often passive about their credit card features. Provided they're paying an interest rate they're comfortable with, they often don't worry too much about the other trappings.
This just means plenty of people miss out on the potential benefits. Whether you're in the market for a new credit card or just looking to make the most of your existing one, keep an eye out for the following:
- Reward points.
- Transaction fees that are reduced or paid on your behalf. Some cards even cover foreign transaction fees, which is perfect for shopping online from overseas retailers.
- Discounts at retailers you like to shop at.
- Bonuses/extra points at sign-up.
- Purchase protection coverage.
This isn't an exhaustive list by any means. Many credit card providers have seasonal or limited-time offers at sign-up so keep an eye out.
2. Check the length of the interest-free period
One key consideration for any credit card you use is the interest-free period it offers on repayment. It's typically 55 days, but there are some cards that offer longer grace periods that can make it easier to space out repayments.
For example, the humm90 Platinum Mastercard offers up to 110 days interest-free on everyday purchases. This can be a great option when you expect some big costs for Christmas or if you simply want some breathing space. It allows you to make the purchases you need, but you won't need to have a lean January while you scrabble around to make the relevant repayments.
Just make sure you're using this period to pay off the amount in full. The interest rate on repayments goes up to 23.99% p.a. after the interest-free period.
3. Take advantage of cashback offers
They say you need to spend money to make money. With the right cashback offer, you have the chance to reclaim some of that holiday spending.
Some credit cards offer you the chance to claim cash back when you purchase certain items or when you spend above a certain amount. Depending on your provider, this may come as a rebate on repayments or be paid into your account.
Either way, taking advantage of these offers can help maximise your money over the holidays. For example, until December 5 the humm90 Platinum Mastercard allows you to get up to $500 back when you spend $1000 to $4000 on everyday purchases.
4. Budget for the big occasions
One of the best things you can do for Christmas shopping is to start early and spread costs throughout the year. Of course, this can be easier said than done. But if it has come down to the wire, there are still ways to handle the process.
- Set a clear budget and have a repayment plan in place.
- Make sure your credit card offers the limit you require to accommodate your budget.
- Draw up a specific gift list ahead of time so you don't need to wing it.
- Set deadlines for specific milestones (e.g. all gifts bought by 15 December, all food shopping done by 20 December).
- Shop online and scour catalogues for the best prices.
5. Use installment payments effectively
One of the advantages that credit cards offer is you don't need to make immediate repayments – you can space them out over time. In addition to the interest-free period, some cards allow you to put big-ticket items on payment plans.
For example, the humm90 Platinum Mastercard lets you adjust any item over $250 to an interest-free payment plan. Depending on the period you use to pay – from 9 to 15 months – there will be an establishment fee of 3–5% of the purchase price. So if you have expensive gifts to purchase this year, this solution can help make the season more affordable.
Shop wisely. We hope you enjoy the holiday season and get to spend plenty of time with friends and family.