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5 tips to avoid buzzkiller post-holiday bills

Don’t get the credit card bill blahs in January.
Don’t get the credit card bill blahs in January. Bloomberg

Nothing wipes out the good cheer of the holidays like the January credit card statement. Here are five tips to soften the post-gift-buying shock:

1. Multiple grocery trips in a week inevitably lead to higher spending. Keep a running list of items you need and go every four days to avoid unnecessary purchases. While visiting the grocery store, avoid buying items such as gift wrap, decorations and bake ware. Not only is the selection limited, but the prices are not good.

2. Shipping costs can add up and push your holiday budget. Consider Amazon Prime, a membership service provided by Amazon that provides free two-day shipping on most items. The membership also offers streaming of videos and music.

Free Shipping Day is Dec. 18. More than 600 retailers, including Bass Pro Shop, Best Buy, Belk, and Harry & David, will offer free shipping; find all participating retailers at Several retailers, including Target, are offering free shipping all holiday season. Check out for free shipping coupon codes.

3. Keep an eye on your plastic. Using credit cards to fund your holidays may sound good now but in January will be as appetizing as another leftover turkey casserole. If you are using credit cards this holiday season, look for cards that provide the lowest interest rate and the best rewards.

4. Remember it is the thought that counts and think outside the box. Taking time to really consider the gift recipient and the things they love is more valuable than any high-priced thoughtless gift.

5. Use the great discounts the last week of December on decorations, gift wrap and craft items to stock up for next year.