Stretching your money this holiday season

Make room on credit cards to add options in an emergency
Posted at 1:06 PM, Nov 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-07 19:01:04-05

NORFOLK, Va. - News 3 is taking action for your money! As you start to look for holiday gifts, you want to make the right decisions when it comes to paying for them.

"It's an interesting time at the checkout counter," said Matt Schulz, Chief Credit Analyst at LendingTree.

It's not just because we're navigating another holiday season during a pandemic. Retailers and lenders are offering more ways to pay for your items through credit cards and loans.

Yet no matter how friendly the face is at the checkout counter, offering you 20% off, Schulz said the truth is, "nobody cares as much about their money as they do."

Before even stepping into a store experts said it's important to know why you're there and what you need to buy. The key word to keep in mind, is "budget."

When you know your budget, you're less likely to be swayed into spending more.

Matt Schulz, Chief Credit Analyst at LendingTree, said this season you may be asked to open a store credit card or take advantage of the increasingly popular "buy now, pay later" loans.

"You'll make that first installment payment right then, and then every two weeks, you'll make one more payments for a total of four payments [without interest]," he said.

Schulz said it can be a good option for people who want to give themselves a little more time, but it's also an easy path for overspending. "You really need to understand what you're getting into before you apply," he said.

You also don't need a store credit card to stretch your dollar further. There are a number of online shopping portals, like Rakuten, that can get you a deal too. In most cases, you can order online and pick up in store.

"It's about knowing yourself. It's about understanding what you want from that loan and how you intend to use it," Schulz said.