As a Black Friday shopper, you’re someone who enjoys the act of saving – maybe even more than the act of shopping! You feel triumph at every product you buy below full price and you brag about how cheap that new pair of shoes you bought were. But you may be overlooking one other way to save some money this Black Friday: your credit card.
Before I explain the ways that shopping with a credit card can be a benefit, I need to preface it by saying that any money you save goes out the window if you don’t pay your balance – your entire balance – in full and on time when you get that first bill in the mail.
If you’re afraid you’ll rack up a huge bill that you can’t afford, skip it! The damage you will do to your credit score will far outstrip any money you saved, not to mention the interest you’ll pay.
Earn rewards points.
By taking advantage of a rewards credit card, you may be able to apply the points you earn toward other gift purchases this holiday season, allowing you stretch your money even further. One great credit card for this is the Amazon Visa. You earn double points for any purchases you make on the site, and you can connect your card directly to your Amazon.com account. So when it comes time for checkout, the points you’ve accumulated will automatically show up as a payment option.
[Free Resource: Check your free credit report and score]Save money on travel.
Another major expense during the holiday season is airplane tickets to visit your family. Pile all those gift purchases on your credit card to rack up airline miles or points. The Blue Sky credit card from American Express is one to consider since you can book the tickets in advance of your holiday shopping and still reap the benefits of your points. You actually apply the points you accumulate afterward when you get the bill. It’s like a discount for eligible travel expenses, such as hotel or airfare.
Get a store discount.
Many stores will offer you a percentage off your entire purchase if you open up an account with them, so why not take advantage of it? But be aware: these credit cards tend to have very high interest rates, so it’s even more important to pay off the balance, or that 10 percent you saved won’t seem like a bargain anymore.
Have an easier returns process.
Bought the wrong thing? Didn’t get what you paid for? You may be out of luck if you don’t have a receipt… unless you paid on a credit card! Often major stores can look up recent transactions and process the return that way. Also, if you have any issues, such as fraud or a broken product, but the company is giving you a hard time, your credit card company may go to bat for you, giving you an extra layer of consumer protection.
If you’re headed to the store with plastic in hand, remember to keep your head. The extra savings you can take advantage of are great, but don’t let it tempt you to spend more than your budget.
- 6 Tips to Dating a Better Credit Score
- How the Debit Card Fee Brouhaha May Affect Your Credit Card
- Options to Turn Your Upside-Down Mortgage Right-Side Up
- A Guide to Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- 4 Risky Money Mistakes to Avoid