What’s the Best Way to Pay for Holiday Shopping?

Q: I’m ready to start my holiday shopping, but I’m not sure how to cover all my purchases. What’s the best way to pay for my holiday shopping?

A: As with most large expenses, when it comes to covering the cost of your holiday shopping, you have several choices. Let’s take a look at some of the most common options and explore the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs.

  1. Credit cards

For many shoppers, the most obvious way to pay for a purchase you can’t currently cover is with a credit card. That small piece of plastic can make you feel like a wealthy shopper who can afford to buy it all without even checking the price. 


  • Significant purchase protection.
  • Convenient payment method accepted at most vendors.
  • No need to have all the cash available at the time of your shopping.
  • Many credit cards offer points for every dollar spent.


  • Interest charges for unpaid bills can mean you’re paying a lot more for your purchases than their original prices.
  • You may be paying off these bills for months to come, or even years later.
  • Carrying extended debt and utilizing a lot of your available credit can hurt your credit score. 
  • You may be more tempted to (or unknowingly) overspend when paying by credit card.
  1. Savings

Dipping into your savings to pay for your holiday purchases can free you from sky-high interest charges, but comes with its own drawbacks.


  • You’ll enjoy a debt-free (and less stressful) holiday season.
  • No incurred interest charges.


  • By using your savings for holiday shopping, you’re depleting your savings that may be intended for emergencies, and/or your short- and long-term financial goals.
  • You’re losing the money your savings may have earned had it been invested or saved over many years.
  1. Unsecured/holiday loan

An unsecured loan, also known as a personal loan or a holiday loan, is a loan that’s taken out with no required collateral. You’ll enjoy quick access to the funds you need, but will have to deal with the disadvantages that are unique to this choice. 


  • You’ll have quick funding for your holiday shopping. 
  • Low interest rates compared to credit cards.
  • Diversifying your credit health with an unsecured loan may improve your credit score.
  • You can stretch the repayment over a longer term for smaller monthly payments. 


  • May have a high interest rate if the borrower has a poor credit score.
  • You’ll be hit with a fee if you want to pay off the loan early.
  • Unlike a credit card bill, you’ll need to pay the full monthly payment when it comes due.
  • Missed and late payments can hurt your credit score.
  1. Holiday club account

It may be too late for this year, but a holiday club account is a fabulous way to pay for the season’s expenses without landing deep in debt. You’ll make regular contributions toward your set goal throughout the year, and when the holiday season arrives, you’ll have all the funds you need to cover your purchases.


  • Holiday costs become more manageable when spread across the entire year. 
  • You’ll build strong saving habits. 
  • Favorable dividend rates.
  • Prevents overspending and accumulating new debt. 


  • Funds in the account cannot be accessed until the goal is reached. Tying up savings is not the best option for those who do not have an established emergency fund. 
  • You won’t be able to take advantage of sale items that can work as holiday gifts throughout the year as your holiday money can’t be accessed.

There are so many ways to pay for your holiday expenses, and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Use this guide to make an informed choice about paying for your holiday shopping. 

TikTok Inspo: Play the part of the financially irresponsible holiday shopper who has no idea how they’ll be paying for the season’s expenses. 

Is Black Friday Shopping Worth the Hassle?

Q: It’s only early November, and I’m already getting ad-bombed for Black Friday sales. I’ve always been an avid sales shopper, but after so many Black Fridays spent weaving through crowds to chase down big deals and often coming home disappointed, I’m wondering if it’s worth it. Should I give up the Black Friday shopping?

A: Black Friday has long been hailed as the biggest shopping day of the year, but consumers are beginning to rethink that title. While there are definitely great deals to be grabbed on the day after Thanksgiving, it’s not always worth the hassle. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of being a Black Friday shopper so you can make an informed decision. 

What are the advantages of Black Friday shopping?

If you’ve been a Black Friday shopper for years, you likely already know the advantages of joining the crowds at the stores on this national shopping day. Here are some of the significant pros of Black Friday shopping:

  • Deep discounts on many goods. There’s no denying that Black Friday does bring with it some great sales. A typical Black Friday sale will feature prices slashed from 20-37%, on average, though you can find deeper discounts, too. 
  • Get a head start on holiday shopping. If you’re eager to start crossing items off your list, you’ll likely want to start your gift-buying on the unofficial first day of the shopping season. 
  • Enjoyable experience. If you’re the kind of person who thrives on being at the center of all the action, you may love Black Friday shopping just for the fun of it.
  • Limited-time offers. Some of the most attractive deals are only available on Black Friday or for a limited time during the holiday season. If there’s a particular item you’ve had your eye on, this may be your best chance to get it at a discount.
  • In-store shopping.  For some shoppers, browsing through online sites from home can’t come close to the thrill of in-store shopping on Black Friday. You can see the layout of the stores, try out new products, run your fingers through the fabric of the dress you’ve been eyeing or inhale the new-sneaker smell of the pair you’ve coveted all summer long. 

What are the disadvantages of Black Friday shopping?

Of course, Black Friday shopping does have its disadvantages as well, including the following:

  • Prices may not be at their lowest. With all the hype, Black Friday prices are not necessarily the lowest price an item might see this season. For example, prices on winter clothing and gear tend to drop after hitting peak season in January. Toys will see deep discounts 10 days before Christmas and tech items are almost always cheaper after the holiday season through Super Bowl Sunday. So, while you may find some great bargains, if you’re looking to get stuff at super-cheap prices, Black Friday may not be the best time to shop. 
  • Doorbusters are often overrated. The heavily advertised doorbusters at big stores are usually offered in very limited quantities. Unless you camp out at the mall so you’re one of the first in the store, you’ll likely miss it. 
  • Crowds and chaos. The massive crowds and chaotic scenes you’ll likely encounter on Black Friday are enough to make many shoppers sleep in late and get their shopping done another time.
  • It’s no longer the biggest shopping day of the year. Many stores run their Black Friday deals a few days before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. This means Friday isn’t the only time you can get these deals. 
  • You can get the same deals online. Most Black Friday deals can be found online–minus the crowds.

Black Friday shopping helps you get a head-start on your holiday shopping and pick up great deals, but it may not be worth the hassle. Use the information outlined here to make an informed decision about Black Friday shopping.

TikTok Inspo: Are you a Black Friday pro? Share your best tips in a short video.