7 Ways to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress



By Maryalene LaPonsie

Black Friday sales are springing up online and in your local stores. But you still have time to pull together a financial plan for the holidays that will keep your bank account in the black. Carve out some time in the next few days to do the following, and you should be in good financial shape for the festivities to begin.

Check your credit score. It may seem like an unlikely place to begin your holiday preparations, but Manisha Thakor, director of wealth strategies for women at financial advisory firm Buckingham and The BAM Alliance, says it’s smart to check your financial pulse before wading into the stores where easy credit is readily available. “There’s a power that comes from knowing where you are,” Thakor says. “That awareness will give you the right level of motivation.” Shoppers who are motivated to maintain or improve their score may find they are less likely to charge purchases or open new credit lines while holiday shopping. Although there are several credit scores available, Thakor recommends people check their FICO score, since it is the one most widely used by lenders.

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