WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – As some shoppers turn to credit cards for last-minute Christmas shopping, financial planner Megan Kopka shares some must-know tips to keep your credit score in good shape.
Independence Mall was packed with shoppers on Thursday. This year, shoppers are seeing higher prices at grocery stores as the cost of Christmas food is up nearly 16.4 percent compared to last year, according to retail data firm Datasembly.
“We have inflation and a lot of people are seeing that happen in the store,” says Megan Kopka, CFP™. “Part of the season of giving and the season of giving and the season of thanksgiving is sharing meals together.”
Since people see high prices at the checkout counter, it can be difficult to place gifts under the tree or on the banquet table.
That does not stop people from continuing with traditional customs. As the holiday weekend approaches, some are relying on credit cards to make ends meet by the end of 2022. While that may work for some, experts encourage you to err on the side of caution when swiping that card.
“There are two things that will really hurt your credit score,” says Kopka. “One is late. Another thing — check your credit limit. It is not a good idea to use that card and have a balance of more than 30 percent.”
Shoppers WECT spoke to on Thursday said they use their credit cards in stores to make deals that often come with them. They are sure to pay their purchases on time but warn others who may not be able to do the same to stay away.
Kopka acknowledges that credit cards aren’t for everyone and not everyone will qualify anyway. If you can’t afford a physical gift for a loved one to unwrap, it’s better to get another gift than go into debt.
“If your income is down, offer your family a service — babysitting, dog sitting, baked goods made from ingredients you already have,” Kopka said. “If you give yourself up, you don’t have it, it’s dangerous and your family doesn’t want that.”
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