How Should I Fund My Holiday Shopping?

So you’ve made a gift list and you’re checking it twice. Are you getting a bit panicky thinking about how to pay for everything, wondering what’s the best way to get through this expensive season?

Relax! You can keep your budget and your sanity, too! And you can do it without having to dip into your savings or racking up a high-interest credit card bill that you’ll be paying off well into the new year. Instead, learn about your choices so you can spend responsibly and keep your holiday cheer all through the season.

Let’s explore your options and take a look at why they may or may not be right for you.

1. Low or no-interest credit cards 

It’s never a good idea to rack up debt. However, if you can get your hands on a credit card that offers an initial low or no-interest period, you can borrow the money to fund those purchases. With an Education First Visa Gold Card, you can earn 5X uChoose Rewards points through December 31, plus 5,000 bonus points just for signing up! You can redeem these points for gift cards, flights, and more! 

Nice: This can be a perfect solution for you if you have a good credit score and concrete plans to pay back the bill before the zero interest period ends.

Naughty: Don’t go this route if you have a poor track record of paying down your credit card bills. You might end up carrying that balance well after the intro period ends. You’ll then be hit with super-high interest rates that will make your holiday expenses go much higher.

2. Polar Express Loan

Need a pile of dough for holiday expenses? Apply for a Polar Express Holiday Loan and . borrow up to $2,500 to spend on gifts!

Nice: Like all of our lending products, our Polar Express Loan has a low interest rate, which makes the payback plan affordable for almost any budget.

Naughty: If you’re already carrying a load of debt and unpaid loans, don’t take out another one just to get you through the holidays. Consider lower cost gift ideas and focus on paying off debt. Use our Accelerated Debt Payoff Calculator to help you tackle it quick!

3. Skip-A-Pay

At Education First, we understand that the holidays can be expensive for our members. That’s why we offer you our own gift this time of year: the option to skip a monthly loan or credit card payment in December or January to give you that extra cash flow. It’s more breathing room in your budget, just when you need it most!

Nice: When you choose Skip-A-Pay, you’ll be able to pay for those presents without adding to your credit card balance or taking on new debt. No bills to haunt you through the first part of the year.

Naughty: When you choose to skip a monthly loan payment, you are essentially moving that payment to the end of the loan’s life. Every Skip-A-Pay will make the loan’s term one month longer. Consider this: If you skip just one payment a year on a 72 month loan, the loan will be six months longer than you’d originally anticipated.

4. Christmas Club Account

Don’t wait until Black Friday to start thinking about your holiday shopping. Pay a little bit toward this expensive season all year long by opening a Christmas Club Account! This way, when November rolls around, you’ll actually look forward to buying all those gifts instead of dreading it. Put the cheer back in your holiday season by opening a Christmas Club Account today!

Nice: Christmas Club Accounts offer you a way to pay for your holiday shopping ahead of the season, instead of playing catch-up on your bills in the coming months. It’s the perfect way to take the stress out of the holidays!

Naughty: If you want to open a Christmas Club Account to help you make it through this season, you’re a little late. But it’s never too early to start thinking about next year!

5. Deferred-interest financing 

If you’re buying several large purchases at big-box stores, consider signing up for the retailers’ deferred-interest financing. Many chain stores offer customers this interest-free financing option so they can walk out with their purchase today and pay for it tomorrow.

Nice: Deferred-interest financing works just like an interest-free line of credit, only it’s exclusive to the store selling the item. If you don’t like the idea of opening another credit card but you need that interest-free option, this can be the perfect solution for you.

Naughty: If you neglect to pay off your bill before the interest-free period expires, you’ll be slapped with sky-high interest fees. Worse yet, you’ll have to pay interest retroactively for the entire interest-free period.

If you’re still struggling to get through the holiday season, we can help! Visit our Financial Education resource center where you can browse hundreds of articles on how to achieve your financial goals. We’ll show you how to stay in the black when your holiday expenses have you seeing red.