As we move into the holiday shopping season, it?s a great time to perform a credit review.
One of my big pet peeves is crowding Thanksgiving with consumerism. This year, Shopping Reminder Day (November 26) falls on Thanksgiving. So, while I don?t think you should actually prepare for holiday shopping on a day that should (in my opinion) be used for family and gratitude, I do think that this can be a good time to perform a credit review ahead of the holiday shopping season.
Where Do You Stand with Your Credit?
Many of us use credit cards during the holiday shopping season. The best choice is to use your credit cards within the confines of your budget. You can earn rewards for your holiday spending, reducing the impact on financial situation. One example is that as a Discover it cardmember you can earn 5% Cashback Bonus? on up to $1,500 of combined purchases from Amazon.com, department stores and clothing stores from October 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015. As long as you pay off your credit cards as quickly as possible, you can avoid the interest costs that come with carry a balance.
In some cases, you might want a personal loan to smooth your finances through the expensive holiday season. As long as you have a plan for paying off your holiday debt as soon as possible, it can be one way to complete your holiday shopping plans.
However, if you don?t have good credit, you might have a hard time getting the best rewards card for your holiday shopping, or qualifying for a good rate on a personal loan. You can check your FICO? Credit Score for an idea of how lenders view you. Some credit card issuers, like Discover, provide you with a FICO? Credit Score for free when you have an account.
You can also access your credit report through some credit issuers, or visit AnnualCreditReport.com to see your credit report and pinpoint issues.
Put Your Finances Back in Order
Even if you aren?t planning on borrowing for your holiday shopping (and it?s better if you?re not), you can use a credit review to get an idea of where you stand and then work to put your finances back in order.
While your credit doesn?t tell the whole picture, it is still a good indication of where you are right now. You can identify problems, such as a high credit utilization, or see if you have poor habits, like late payments. In many cases, we tend to let our finances slide a little bit, and may not recognize the problem. Performing a credit review can help you confront some of your issues and start taking steps to improve your finances, whether you are getting ready for holiday shopping, preparing your end-of-the-year tax moves, or just planning for the coming year.
Any time you get ready to put your finances back on track, or get ready to make a big purchase, starting with a credit review is a good plan. It can bring red flags to your attention and remind you to get back on track with your money.
Disclosure: This blog post was written as part of a sponsored program for Discover Financial Services. All views expressed are entirely my own, and were not influenced or directed by Discover Financial Services.