Great loans take time to get, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always out of your reach. You just need to make sure that you are keeping your wits about you. That can be difficult during a holiday season where everything seems to jump out at you. It’s been said that the fear of loss is greater than the promise of gain, but one look at a few Christmas deals can really have you wishing it were the other way around. You don’t want to miss a good deal, but you still want to remain true to your financial blueprint. Sure, there’s going to come a point where you’re going to really want to do more than just window shop, and that’s where a good loan can come in.

Why “targeted” loans, anyway?

We like to call them targeted loans because you have a direct purpose for them. Sure, in a perfect world it would only be about getting the cheapest loan possible, but it’s so much more than that. As we mentioned earlier, you have to make sure that you have a purpose for everything that you do. It’s very easy to get caught up in the holiday festivities and then think about doing nothing with the loan. That’s a lot of money in terms of monthly payments to just end up blowing it because you’re not ready to actually get anything done. It would be smarter to pursue a different perspective in the world of loans.

You want to think about the numbers and make sure that you can afford the monthly payments no matter what happens. What if you end up blowing a tire down the road and your loan is still due? That’s a situation where you really do want to make absolutely sure that you’re going to be able to afford that loan and take care of your car. No, it’s not fun to think about all of the different things that can go wrong, but it’s going to help you be a smarter financial planner later down the road.

It’s perfectly okay to get a loan in order to do something fun — you don’t have to feel like if you don’t have a practical purpose for the loan that everything is just going to slide downhill. Many people take out personal loans in order to go on vacation, or to be able to make their Christmastime a little brighter. It’s just a matter of making sure that you know what you are getting into.

With the power of the internet on your side, there’s really no reason why you should really have to worry about what you’re going to pay for a loan. Comparison shopping is really the order of the day, which means that you should get an estimate of how much your monthly payments are going to be.

Where you get your loan also matters — if you have challenged credit you can still check into things at the bank. The bank can often help you out if you have a good checking account. If you are willing to use your active accounts as collateral, you might be able to get a small loan and work up from there.

Pulling your credit report before you make any fast decisions is always a good idea. Yes, if you’ve read our previous guides you have heard us say this before. However, we’re still surprised when we go around the Web and find people shocked that they were denied for a loan but they don’t know why. A low credit score is something that you might be aware that you have, but until you get all of the details you will be at a loss on how to get things moving in the right direction. What’s more is that your credit score might be lower than where it should be because of errors. Incorrect information that is not accurate can really lower your score, and you can indeed do something about it. On the flip side, accurate information that is negative is something that only time can handle unless you’re a really skilled negotiator. It’s up to you to seize control of your future and get things moving in the right direction.

Now is the perfect time to start looking around at good loan offers. Make sure that you really are taking the time to read the fine print — this is not something that you want to rush, for all of the reasons that we’ve mentioned before. Are you really ready to get moving in the right direction? We certainly hope so!

By Jasmina