How not to max out your credit card when on holiday

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
Our authors
, updated on June 6th, 2023       

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How do you avoid getting caught up in the festive spirit of ‘treating yourself’ and others without exhausting your credit card and accumulating debt in the process? With so many temptations that seem to linger in every corner, we have put together these five helpful tips that can keep you from maxing out your credit card.

It’s the ‘B’ word again

Budget, and by all means try to avoid flipping it into ‘but get’. This will require some discipline on your end of things, meaning you should set a budget right now before the festive season kicks off. Include everything things such as; recreational activities, transport expenses, gifts, decorations eating out, and more. Create sections if you have to and determine how much you will be able to afford. This also means budgeting around your credit card in terms of how much you are willing to spend on it. The tough part of doing this is making sacrifices. Look at the brighter side, your future self will thank you.

Use less of your credit card

Australians spent over $50 billion over the Christmas period, with 40% of the spending being done with credit cards. Unless if you have a low rate card or taking advantage of the 0% promotional period, and you are certain that you will pay everything back on time, you will be better off without your credit card. Not only is it easy to start overspending on your credit card, but you will have to pay back the money that you spent with interest. You can consider using your debit card and cash to handle the various expenses to help you stick to your budget.

Convenience comes with a price

It may be convenient, but convenience comes with small costs that can eventually accumulate to an expense that chips away at any budget you have in place. Buying that last-minute gift online from an overseas store can attract a 3% foreign transaction fee while withdrawing cash from your credit card can come with a cash advance fee of up to 20%. There are also last minute travell bookings, last minute trips to the grocery store without eating a meal, and purchases that can increase in prices that can throw your whole budget out of whack.

Not tracking spending when travelling

Whether you are planning to spend the festive season at home or travelling, it is essential that you track your spending. With all that is going on, it is possible for you to easily lose track of your spending. At the end of each day evaluate the amount of spending you have done and if you are still on track. You can consider setting a reminder to help you.

Cook a meal wherever possible

The festive season is synonymous with eating, but try to avoid letting take-aways wreck your budget. According to Roy Morgan, more than 17 million Australians spent buy takeaways, with 52.7% Aussies opting for a McDonald meal. Planning your shopping can help you curb your fast food cravings. You can stock up on snacks and make home-cooked meals. This doesn’t mean that you have to cancel eating out together, but include this in your budget.

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