Summertime is one of the biggest seasons for retail stores and tourist destinations. People are buying clothes to keep them cool in the warm weather, and popular vacation spots are sold out of hotel and lodging accommodations. Families tend to overspend each year on vacation buying expensive hotels, fancy meals and lots of souvenirs. To avoid falling into credit debt there are a few ways to keep the mercury from rising on your credit bill.
Keep your credit in good standing
- Pay your bill on time. The easiest way to let your credit score slip is by not paying your bill on time. Most people don’t keep track of their bill due dates. It might be helpful to create a spreadsheet on your computer or keep a list of bill due dates taped to the fridge, so you see it frequently and remember to pay your bill on time. If you are not paying your bill on time because of lack of funds, contact the creditor and request an extension. Having the creditor approve an extension on your payment does less harm than showing a late, missed or delinquent payment on your account.
- Pay more than your minimum balance. Paying the minimum payment on your bill is the slowest track to financial freedom. By paying more than the minimum balance, you are reducing your overall balance while also paying off the interest as it accrues. Of course, the best strategy is to pay off your balance in full each month. If you find you cannot pay the full balance each month, or even more than the minimum payment, it would be wise to not using your credit card until you are able to catch up in your payment amounts.
- Contact your creditor. Often, creditors are willing to negotiate interest rates with customers in good standing. If you have been making regular, timely payments, your creditor may agree to reduce your interest rates. This is a negotiation process and may require that you research other credit agencies to inquire about the rates they are offering before contacting your creditor. Being informed is your best negotiation tactic when attempting to negotiate with your creditor.
Save money on your vacation
- Drive rather than fly. Sure flying will get you to your destination faster, but there are always neat and fun sites for the family to visit along the way. Not to mention the memories your family will make during the trip.
- Look for all-inclusive or package deals. When visiting a popular tourist destination, some hotels offer all-inclusive or package deals for families where all meals are included. Estimate how much it would cost for your family to eat three meals a day at a restaurant, and find a package deal that offers both meals and lodging for less than your estimated amount.
- Get a room with a kitchenette. If you cannot find a hotel offering package deals, look for lodging that may have a small fridge and microwave in your unit. Having these small appliances will allow you to make small meals in your room to save on the cost of food.
- Contact the local visitor’s bureau. Each city has a local visitor’s bureau that can provide information about all the activities offered in community. Often, the city has many free events that are open to the public. Summertime is the busiest season for any tourist city and each hold their own events and activities to promote tourism.