It’s holiday shopping time, but how should you pay for all your purchases? We’ve got a breakdown of all your options so you can enjoy the holiday season and stay on track with your financial goals.
Q: Holiday shopping season is here, but I can’t pay for it all! What’s the best way to fund my holiday shopping?
A: When it comes to covering the cost of your holiday shopping, you have several choices. Let’s take a look at some options and explore the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision.
1. Credit cards
For many shoppers, the most obvious way to pay for a purchase you can’t cover now is with a credit card.
- Significant purchase protection.
- Convenient payment method.
- Interest charges for unpaid bills can be very high.
- You may be paying off these bills for months or years.
- Extended debt can hurt your credit score.
- You may be more tempted to (or unknowingly) overspend.
Dipping into savings to pay for your holiday purchases can free you from sky-high interest charges but comes with drawbacks.
- You’ll enjoy a debt-free holiday season.
- No incurred interest charges.
- Depleting the savings that’s meant for emergencies can leave you up a creek later.
- You’re losing the money your savings may have earned had it been invested or saved longer.
3. Unsecured/holiday loan
An unsecured loan, also known as a personal loan or holiday loan, is a loan that’s taken out with no collateral.
- You’ll secure quick funding.
- Low interest rates compared to credit cards.
- You can stretch the repayment over a longer term for smaller monthly payments.
- You’ll need to pay the full monthly payment when it’s due.
- You may be hit with a fee if you pay off the loan early.
- Missed and late payments can hurt your credit score.
4. Holiday club account
When you open a holiday club account, you’ll make regular contributions toward your set goal throughout the year, and then have the funds you’ll need for covering your holiday purchases when the season arrives.
- Holiday costs get more manageable when spread across the year.
- Favorable dividend rates.
- Prevents overspending and accumulating new debt.
- Funds in the account cannot be accessed until the goal (or preset date) is reached. Tying up savings can be a concern for those who do not have an emergency fund.
Using this guide, you’ll be able to make an informed choice about paying for your holiday shopping without breaking the bank.