SOURCE: CompareCards

CompareCards

November 21, 2014 16:30 ET

Holiday Spending: Doorbuster Deals Without the Debt

The Ultimate Shopper's Guide to Maximize Your Gift Budget

CHARLESTON, SC--(Marketwired - November 21, 2014) - Holiday spending is projected to go up four percent from last year, totaling $616 billion. In order to keep holiday debt down, CompareCards, a credit card comparison website, created an infographic packed with tips and tricks for shopping, avoiding debt, and how to use and rack up credit card rewards.

Additionally, here are tips, stats, and resources to assist with every aspect of holiday spending this season.

Thanksgiving -- Don't Get Stuffed with Debt This Thanksgiving, Use These Money-Saving Tips

Save Money on Thanksgiving Dinner

The average cost of a 10-person turkey dinner is up about $.37 this year, to $49.41. That doesn't seem like a lot of money, but prices of many Thanksgiving staple ingredients are also on the rise. Recoup those costs and save money on the Thanksgiving feast by following these five tips!

  • Set a budget -- Know what the budget is and create the menu according to your budget, even if that means cutting out a dish or two.
  • Keep portions reasonable -- Get a final head count and then commit to only making enough food that number of guests. Use this calculator from the Food Network to help you determine how much food is needed.
  • Keep it simple -- In order to stick to a budget, keep it simple. Cut out more expensive items like fancy decorations or pricey wine.
  • Have a potluck -- If hosting, plan out the menu and offer to provide the staples such as turkey and mashed potatoes. Then ask guests to bring a dish or bottle of wine!
  • Use coupons and sales -- Retailers and coupon sites will offer deals on turkey and Thanksgiving staples. Keep an eye out for price cuts in the store and combine those with coupons for maximum savings.

Thrifty Travel Tips for the Holidays

An estimated 46.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more during Thanksgiving. Money spent on traveling doesn't have to be a concern. We've compiled a list of great tips and tricks from our blog that will help maximize the travel budget this Thanksgiving.

  • Here is a list of our favorite cards that have bonus travel perks.
  • Here is a list of credit cards that offer emergency roadside assistance, auto collision and rental insurance, and even premium car rental programs.

Black Friday -- Don't Fall in the Hole on Black Friday

Tips on How to Rack up Rewards and Use the Right Cards for Black Friday

There are two types of rewards credit cards that will be good to use for Black Friday shopping; those that earn bonus points on this quarter's categories of spending, and those that earn 2% (or 2 points) on all purchases, every day. 

  • Many credit cards have a limit on the dollar amount you can earn rewards on, which is usually no more than $1,000. That works perfectly because the average American will only spend about $718 on holiday shopping this year.
  • Need something for the person who has everything? It's hard to go wrong with a gift card to their favorite store. Discover offers a gift card program that can earn you as much as 20% cash back by shopping in Discover's exclusive online shopping mall.
  • Here is a list of credit cards to use for Black Friday shopping.
  • Here are tips on how credit card points and miles work.

Small Business Saturday -- Tis' the Season to Give Back: Shopping Small, Makes a Big Impact

Tips for Shopping Small

In 2013, consumers who participated in Small Business Saturday spent $5.7 billion with independent merchants, up 3.6 percent from 2012.

  • Find participating small businesses in your area.
  • Pay with cash or prepaid debit cards in order to spend responsibly and to avoid small business from incurring transaction fees.
  • Here is list of the best prepaid debit cards of 2014.

Cyber Monday -- Don't Get Lost in Cyber Space

Five Tips to Protect Personal Identity and Credit Card Information When Shopping Online

Since 2007, the number of malicious programs written to steal personal information has increased from one program to 130 million programs and credit card data theft increased 50 percent from 2005 to 2010.

  • Be sure to use a website that uses secure technology, especially during checkout.
  • Create strong passwords without using any identifiable information.
  • Look for privacy and security policies on websites.
  • Look for the latest credit card password procedures.
  • Understand the "safe-shopping" policies established by the issuer of your credit card. 
  • Here are some tools to use for an additional level of security while shopping online.

Credit Card Fraud

Consumers should focus their efforts on staying protected when making online purchases and always use a credit card, not a debit card. That's a good thing to remember during the holiday shopping season. Here's what you need to know regarding EMV credit card fraud.

Maximize Credit Card Rewards While Shopping Online

Don't forget about the bonus malls (i.e. online shopping portals) operated by some card issuers. By making purchases through these platforms, consumers can rack up even more rewards while shopping online.

#GivingTuesday -- Give Thanks and Pay It Forward with Your Credit Card Rewards

Give Or Transfer Points And Rewards

Give rewards points to a charity, transfer them to someone else, or use those points to purchase gifts for someone in need or a friend.

  • Banks are starting to tie in charities by allowing card members to donate points and rewards to a charity affiliated with the bank. Donate points, miles, or rewards with a credit card or through a member program.
  • Here is our list of credit cards that help charities.

Christmas -- Be Merry and Avoid a Financial Hangover This Christmas

Four Tips To Save Money When Christmas Shopping

  • Check for coupons -- Most retailers offer coupons that coincide with big shopping days. Check newspapers and online ads and be sure to print them out before shopping. Also check coupon and retailer apps for additional savings.
  • Create DIY gifts -- Whether it's homemade cookies, unique art pieces, or homemade household goods, loved ones appreciate the thought and time put into their one of-a-kind gift. Check out our DIY Christmas gift board on Pinterest.
  • Make a budget -- Before making a list, determine your budget, then make the list fit the budget even if that means making sacrifices. Sites like mychristmasbudget.com can make planning easy.
  • Pay with cash -- If using credit cards responsibly is a concern, turn the budget into cash. Seeing exactly how much of the budget has been used is a powerful way to avoid unnecessary purchases.

Take Advantage of Balance Transfer Credit Cards

The key to almost all credit card offers boils down to these things.

  • APR -- If that APR is a special introductory rate, then the second bit of information to know is when that intro rate expires. If the entire balance won't be paid off before the offer expires, then the next thing to know is what the APR will be after the introductory offer expires.
  • Additional Fees -- Look for anything that represents an additional expense, such as an annual fee or a balance transfer fee.
  • Here are some shortcuts for comparing balance transfer offers.

Best Prepaid Gift Cards of 2014:

American Express Business/Consumer Gift Cards

  • Refundable if your card is lost or stolen.
  • Funds do not expire.
  • Use rewards points to make purchases.

Visa Gift Card

  • Refundable if your card is lost or stolen.
  • Funds expire on the expiration date stated on the card.

MasterCard Gift Card

  • Funds expire on the expiration date stated on the card.

To read more creative ways to save money during the holidays and still spread some holiday cheer, and to share this infographic, visit blog.comparecards.com/infographics/black-friday-savings/.

To view more infographics by CompareCards, visit their infographics webpage

About CompareCards.com:
CompareCards, was formed in 2005 as a listing resource, but has grown into one of the most trusted credit card comparison sites used today. Users are able to compare credit cards using a side-by-side comparison tool to find the best offer for them based on the factors that are important to each individual. Compare Cards also offers customers additional resources and financial literacy information via their blog, CompareWallet and Education Center.

The following files are available for download:

Contact Information