Banks, financial institutions, finance companies and retailers have made credit cards and store credit such a convenient method of making payments for goods and services that it is very easy to spend more than you have realized or made plans to. This is especially true during the holiday shopping season.
In addition to regular credit card financing, some consumers simply find a 90, 180 or even 365 days same as cash offer too much of a temptation to resist. Don't fall into this trap! Ultimately, your rule of thumb should be the following: If you don't have the money to pay for the item now (or have a guarantee of having the money within the offer term), don't buy it. Also, keep in mind that the interest costs with these financing offers often accrues from the date of your purchase (be sure to read the offer details). For example, if you pay off the entire balance within the timeframe allotted in the offer, no interest will be charged. However, if you don't pay off the entire balance before your same as cash days are up, the accrued interest will be added to your balance. Take a look at the rates that are typically charged with the retail cards making these offers. The interest rates are not low, because the finance company or bank stands to make a considerable amount of money if you don't pay off the entire amount early. In fact, they are counting on it. Don't let an impulse buy get you into a bad credit situation!
Get control of your spending habits and stop those unpleasant surprises by writing down every credit card purchase just like a check or cash expenditure. Even though it isn't your money now, it will be later when it comes time to make the monthly payments. So, when it does come time to pay your monthly credit card statement, the money will already be in your budget and available to pay the balance in full.