Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season and as we enter this time of generosity, wanting to give thanks by sharing precious gifts with friends and family, many have some understandable concerns about the expense. The good news is that credit card debt has gone down in recent years. However, consumer debt as a whole continues to climb because of increases in auto and student loans. Fortunately there are ways to take advantage of Black Friday deals to help keep your credit card debt to a minimum, leaving more of your income to go towards repaying your student loans. There are even some ways to direct your shopping energy into student loan help, either for yourself or as a gift for a loved one struggling with student debt.
1. Shop For Scholarships
Instead of just shopping for stuff this Black Friday, consider shopping for scholarship opportunities that can help you reduce your student debt. This is also the perfect gift this holiday season for a friend or family member having a difficult time repaying their student loans. Think of it this way, any object you buy will depreciate in value the second you’ve bought it, but the gift of debt reduction provides long-term value.
2. Be Thoughtful And Thankful
The thing about shopping mode is that it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and excitement of buying and finding great deals, so we end up filling ours cars with a bunch of stuff we don’t need. This is the perfect opportunity to use that college education you’ve been paying for and think before you buy. Even a fantastic price on something you don’t really want or need, isn’t really a good deal, although it often seems that way in the heat of the moment. If we can stay level-headed, go in knowing the difference between true value and fluff, we can emerge from Black Friday as top shoppers. One great way to help accomplish this is to do some research in the next few days before the madness begins; that way you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for. For instance, if you’re planning on phone shopping this week, check out some of these best Black Friday phone deals for unlocked cell phones.
3. Avoid Holiday Debt Traps
Unfortunately there are banks and credit card companies out there looking to capitalize on shoppers like you. Knowing that you’ll likely be spending more than usual in the next month, many banks offer cash advances to help you out. Don’t be fooled though, these cash advances tend to come with extraordinary interest rates, which may mean that your Christmas debt will be plaguing you for months and years to come. Likewise you’ll want to avoid opening a new holiday credit card just to get the attached deal. In reality this is a great deal for the store and credit card company, not for you. And it’s important that you spend wisely so that you can stay up on your student loan payments and avoid the pitfalls of bad credit.
Shopping and gift giving is a lot of fun, but one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself is to shop responsibly and practice financial prudence. Finding balance in our lives is a necessary and ultimately rewarding challenge: celebrations are important and so are your student loans. Don’t let your generosity this season ruin your credit; remember to be generous with yourself as well as others by seeking help from the experts on how to keep your student debt under control.