Depending on your level of organisation in the lead-up to Christmas, you may or may not have your Christmas shopping sorted by now. If you like to leave things to the last minute – or you’re thinking of doing some shopping in the Boxing Day sales – this is the time to make a plan of attack with regards to your spending.
When it comes to last minute shopping or sales spending, it can be all too easy to get carried away. You see something you like, you’re worried you might miss out, or you think you may be running out of time to find something great – and you end up buying things you don’t need, or simply spending too much.
So, what do you need to know before you start flexing that debit card?
Plan Your Spending
Before you hit the shops, make a list of all the things you need to buy and set a spending limit for each. Doing some research online can help you not only decide what you want to buy, but also how much you should expect to spend. This can help both when you shop in person, and when you shop online. Try to stick to your list and your spending limit as you shop.
Your debit card should make it easy to track your transactions. Most debit card accounts offer online banking and app access, providing you with a full list of all transactions. Keep an eye on your spending as you shop both for Christmas and in the sales. You may also want to set spending limits on your card if you’re worried about overspending. This can usually be done in-app.
Debit or Credit?
If you have both a debit card and a credit card, you may be wondering which one you should use for your Christmas shopping and sales spending. The answer lies in how you plan to shop, whether you have the means to cover your spending right now, and whether you want to get something back on your spend.
With a debit card, you can only spend what funds you have available. This can be a good thing if you tend to overspend and don’t think you could trust yourself with a credit card. On the other hand, if you don’t have cash in your debit card account right now, but you have money coming into your account soon, a credit card could allow you to buy what you want now and pay it back later when that money arrives.
With a credit card, you may also have access to extra features, such as perks and rewards. Earning rewards on spending is one of the main reasons many users choose to keep a credit card, but they don’t work for everyone. For example, you need to spend a certain amount to make the card’s annual fee worth paying.
And while perks can come in handy – especially if you’re jetting off over the Christmas period – they aren’t without cost. Cards with perks such as airport lounge access and complimentary travel insurance also tend to have a high annual fee – whereas a debit card’s fees are minimal.
With that being said, there are some debit cards that allow users to earn rewards as they shop. While they are few and far between, these cards can provide a valuable return on certain debit card spending. It is worth noting that, like credit cards that offer rewards, debit cards offering rewards can come with a higher service fee or account fee.
Check out our post on debit cards that earn rewards here to find out more.
Time to shop? If you’re shopping for Christmas, you should probably get your skates on. If you’re waiting for the Boxing Day sales, you have plenty of time to get a plan in place. Happy shopping everyone – and Merry Christmas!