As the holiday season approaches, many people will be looking for ways to save money. Here are five of our favorite tips on how to use your credit cards this holiday season, plus a few tricks to paying off credit cards that will help you save money.


1: Use your credit cards wisely

Credit cards are excellent tools for your financial arsenal as they can provide you with both short-term and long-term financial benefits. Depending on the card, you may be able to have your warranty doubled or extended return periods, and using a card instead of a check or cash always ensures your bank accounts are protected from theft and fraud. However, use your cards wisely – don’t spend more than you can afford to pay back, and always keep your credit cards in a safe place.


2: Avoid store-branded cards ( unless you can pay them off quickly )

Many department stores offer their own credit cards and will often feature tempting sign-up bonuses such as instant money off of your purchase that day. While that might sound like a great deal, department store cards often have little value outside of the store and can carry staggeringly high interest rates. Only consider getting a store branded credit card if you can pay off the balance before the next statement closes. Otherwise, you’ll get more value for your purchases by using a major card instead.


3: Avoid using the same card for multiple purchases

Unless you have a specific reason, it is best to avoid using the same credit card for multiple purchases. Many credit cards have perks for specific categories, such as cashback on purchases at small businesses or bonus reward points for dining out. If you are planning on making multiple large purchases with the same card, it is best to divide the costs among different cards.


4: Use rewards programs and convert your points

Many credit cards offer rewards programs that can be used to earn free travel, cash-back rewards, or other perks. These rewards programs can mean incredible savings on your holiday gifts if you plan ahead of time. Look into which programs your current cards offer to see if you can convert points into valuable gift cards or help you save on your holiday travel expenses. Many credit card companies have partnerships with rental car agencies, hotels, and airlines that will gladly accept your points as a form of payment, potentially saving you hundreds.


5: Transfer balances to a 0% promotional APR card

If you end up stuck spending more than your budget allows, another way to save money this holiday season is to transfer balances to a 0% promotional APR card. By moving your balances onto a low-interest card, you will be able to pay off your balance in full without interest charges. This can help you avoid interest payments and eventual debt accumulation.


The bottom line

Using your credit cards wisely can make a big difference this holiday season in terms of saving money and having a stress-free shopping experience. By following these five tips, you should be able to manage your spending without any issues.