How to use credit card rewards to help pay for the holidays

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Cheerful young woman wearing Santa's hat is buying Christmas presents online.
Cheerful young woman wearing Santa's hat is buying Christmas presents online.
Cheerful young woman wearing Santa’s hat is buying Christmas presents online.

By Virginia C. McGuire

The holidays are the best of times and the worst of times. They’re a great excuse to catch up with family and friends, take a break from work and remember what’s truly important. They’re not so great for either your wallet or your waistline.

Using the right credit cards strategically or signing up for a new one won’t do much for your waistline — but both can help you recoup some of your holiday spending. Here’s what you should keep in mind.

Holiday spending brings bonuses within reach

Many credit cards offer sizable sign-up bonuses, but there’s a catch: Claiming that bonus typically requires charging a certain amount during a certain time period. It might be more than you’d be comfortable spending under normal circumstances.

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