The Christmas holiday season isn't the only time people are tempted to run up a lot of credit card debt. Mother's Day, Father's Day and Memorial day can also bust your budget, too, if you don't keep track of spending. While it may be nice to buy gifts for a loved one or hit the road Memorial Day weekend, it's best to avoid relying on credit cards for your plans.
Credit card use rises
According to the Federal Reserve, consumer credit outstanding rose 10.2 percent to $1.739 trillion in March 2012 from the previous month. Of that amount revolving credit, which includes credit card debt, rose 7.8 percent to $803.6 billion. Many Americans are relying on credit cards more and may be tempted to continuing using plastic to make purchases related to celebrations. But if you want to avoid getting into trouble with credit cards, don't spend your holidays relying on credit lines.
Tap your inner frugalness
Instead of pulling out a credit card to pay for pricey gifts and outings to celebrate a special event, why not try the following alternatives?
- Skip the expensive restaurant tab and cook a special dinner for your mom or dad. Make their favorite dishes and break out the fancy china; if they prefer a more casual cookout, fire up the grill.
- Skip the flower delivery and buy a nice potted plant that can be enjoyed a long time. Flowers for mom can be expensive and they only last for a short while.
- Do you really need to blow your budget for a weekend road trip? Look for fun outings that can be enjoyed close to home without running up gasoline, airline or hotel bills. Pack tasty lunches and snacks to avoid spending a lot of money on fast food.
- Make up gift certificates that offer your services for things such as yard work, car detailing, grocery shopping or other errands.
Be creative in your approach to spending holidays with family and friends. There is no rule that you have to buy a certain type of gift or participate in a particular activity to celebrate special events.