Give yourself the Christmas gift of good credit

We're nearing the time of year a lot of us go crazy with credit card debt and card experts say -- don't do that! Don't use credit to book vacations home to see the family -- if you can avoid it.

Ted Rossman of says you need a card to book a flight, but treat it like cash and pay it off immediately.

"Try to avoid credit card debt if at all possible; the average interest rate is 17% -- if you have good credit and a lot of people are paying 20 or even 25%."

Rossman says the way to do it is get the reward points and don't pay it off over time.

"Use a credit card and bank the points and immediately pay it off before accruing interest."

Rossman says now might be a good time get a new card, because introductory offers usually have the most reward points.

"A lot of the most lucrative credit card sign up bonuses will require you to spend a few thousand dollars in the first three months and that makes the holidays a great time to get a new card because we're probably spending that money anyway on travel and meals out and gifts."

But Rossman says it's important you treat travel-home expenses as cash and pay off the credit card immediately. A report finds the average flyer will spend about $1,000 for Christmas and just over $800 for Thanksgiving.

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