Holiday Hazards: 5 Unexpected Expenses and How to Handle Them without a Credit Card

Most merry makers rely on their credit cards to shop for the holidays. Tying up your credit limits with gifts and goodies means these cards are off the table when it comes to the unexpected. But that doesn’t mean you have to ignore expenses and emergencies until next payday. You have other options.

Your Emergency Payment Options

Savings will always be the best way to handle surprise purchases and repairs. But if you don’t have savings, a line of credit provides a backup to your usual bag of financial tricks. When you follow these 5 easy steps, you can streamline your search for a line of credit during the holidays. 

But what if your emergency exceeds your line of credit limit? Depending on the situation, you might be able to find help with your homeowner or auto insurance. Check your policies to see if they cover your emergency. 

Watch Out for These 5 Hazards for a Safe and Happy Holiday

While a line of credit and insurance provide backup, a little forward thinking means you won’t have to rely on these tools in the first place. By knowing how the festivities can go wrong, you can take steps to avoid these common hazards. 

1. Illnesses and Injuries 

Slipping on the ice, eating undercooked turkey, or catching COVID from your second cousin twice removed — there are a lot of ways you can get sick or injured during the holidays. Here’s how you can keep your family safe:

  • Cut down your chances of coming down with the flu and other illnesses by keeping up with your vaccines and washing your hands. 
  • Learn safe food handling to ensure you serve dinner without a side of food-borne illnesses.
  • Dress appropriately for the conditions. 

2. Fires 

Your fire risk is higher around the holidays as you load up outlets with lights and cook under pressure. To avoid this disaster, check out these fire safety tips. 

  • Investigate all electrical cords and lights to ensure there’s no damage.
  • Don’t overburden outlets. 
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Set timers while cooking, and never leave the kitchen while using the stove. 

3. Automotive Trouble 

With a busier social calendar, you might be driving more often at a time when the conditions are just turning for the worse. Black ice, sleet, and snow can reduce brake time and increase your chances of a collision. But a road accident isn’t guaranteed. Driving defensively for the conditions will help you avoid automotive trouble.

4. Porch Piracy 

Roughly one in four Canadians (22%) have reported an online package theft, but Americans have it worse — more than one third (35%) of the US have had a delivery stolen. 

With more people shopping online during the holidays, your risk of porch piracy increases. You can deter these pirates by requiring a signature for deliveries or getting your packages delivered to a pick-up spot. 

5. Credit Card Fraud 

Shopping online more often also increases your chances of credit card fraud. Keep your financial information safe by following these tips:

  • Confirm you are shopping with legitimate retailers with security.
  • Don’t share your credit card number with anyone but trusted organizations and businesses. 
  • Review statements regularly to catch any suspicious activity.

Bottom Line: 

One unexpected emergency has the power to suck all the fun out of the holiday season. By knowing the risks, you can avoid your chances of encountering these unexpected expenses unawares. But don’t worry — a line of credit and insurance are there as safety nets in case of emergency.