November entails the start of the holiday season, and that often involves shelling out some dough, whether it's for some Black Friday cant-miss-out specials or splurges on extravagent Thanksgiving specials.
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All that spending doesn’t mean you have to blow your budget, though. We’re serving up four credit card tips to help you hang on to more of your hard-earned cash. Let’s talk turkey.
There’s still a chance the Fed might hike interest rates one last time before we ring in the New Year. If this happens, your credit card debt will get more expensive too. One way to stop getting socked with increased finance charges on your existing balances is to shift them to a balance transfer card.
These cards offer 0% APR promotional periods that typically range from 12 to 21 months. That’s a long time to be able to concentrate on paying your balance down without have to worry about additional interest payments.
To choose the right balance transfer card, consider these two things:
- The length of time you’ll need to pay off the debt.
- The balance transfer fee you may be required to pay.
Many balance transfer cards charge 3% to 5% of the balance you’re transferring over. Others charge no fee at all. Depending on how large the balance you need to transfer is, it could still be worth it to pay this fee as it’s likely to be less than what you’ll rack up in double-digit interest. Use this balance transfer calculator to determine how much you might have to pay.
Save money, not calories
Thanksgiving is a meal not meant for holding back. Use that to your advantage at the supermarket.
Apply for a credit card that pays big rewards on grocery store purchases and save on everything you buy for the big meal and beyond. For example, the no-fee Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express pays 3% back at U.S. supermarkets, up to $6,000 a year in annual grocery spending. After that, it drops down to 1% cash back.
If you’re more the type to gather round the restaurant table, using a card like the Capital One Savor Rewards Credit Card, the PNC Cash Rewards Visa Credit Card or the Chase Sapphire Reserve will pay you an unlimited 3% back on all dining purchases. The all-new Uber Visa pays a whopping 4% back at restaurants and charges no annual fee.
Go ahead, order yourself that extra bowl of stuffing.
Warm up your wallet
For most of the country, November is when temperatures start to drop. If you’re looking to update your cold weather essentials, the Chase Freedom card pays 5% cash back through Dec. 31 on up to $1,500 in eligible purchases made at Walmart and several major department store chains including JC Penney, Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s.
Using the Chase Freedom card is like getting an automatic 5% coupon. And you’ll still get 5% back off the final price even if that item is on sale or you have another coupon. Stack the savings and you might save enough to get you and your partner matching Christmas sweaters. We won’t judge you.
The week around Thanksgiving is typically the busiest travel time of the year. According to a AAA report, 48.7 million Americans traveled more than 50 miles from home last year for the holiday.
To keep your travel plans from weighing heavy on your budget, consider a co-branded airline card. Most of the cards on the market today offer generous sign-up bonuses if you meet a minimum spending amount within a certain time frame. In some cases, the sign-up bonus might be enough for a free domestic round-trip ticket.
If your destination requires wheels on the ground instead of wheels up, look for a card that can help you save at the pump.
The Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi pays 4% back on gas purchased at any gas station, up to $7,000 annually, after which it drops down to 1%.
You can further accelerate the savings if you fuel up at a station that offers a loyalty program. Shell Fuel Rewards, for example, will give at least a 5 cents per gallon discount if you have a Fuel Rewards membership number. So you’ll instantly get that discount at the pump, plus an additional 4% back on your Costco card.