Dreaming of a debt-free Christmas?

Dreaming of a debt-free Christmas?

Ever wondered if you could spread holiday cheer without accumulating a pile of debt? Itís not easy, and it does require more than just believing in miracles, but it certainly can be done. Giving the perfect gift to everyone on your list without going

Published Friday, December 5, 2014

Ever wondered if you could spread holiday cheer without accumulating a pile of debt? It’s not easy, and it does require more than just believing in miracles, but it certainly can be done. Giving the perfect gift to everyone on your list without going into debt takes thoughtful planning, a bit of creativity, and a good amount of discipline.

Here are some helpful tips for getting through the holidays without getting into debt:

  1. Set a budget and stick to it. Decide how much you can afford to spend comfortably this holiday season without going into debt. Then commit to that amount, no exceptions.
  2. Make a list. Before heading out to the mall to do your shopping, spend time making a list of everyone for whom you need to buy a gift. Don’t just stop with the list, though. Consider each person, their likes and interests, and jot down several meaningful gift options with different price points. You may be able to save money on some gifts so you can spend a bit more on others without going over your budget.
  3. Get creative with homemade gifts. Not everyone appreciates the latest gadget or toy. For some on your list, a handmade gift will bring more joy and meaning than anything from a store ever could. Think about your hobbies and talents (i.e. baking, knitting, sewing, painting, woodworking, etc.) then put them to use making unique, one-of-a-kind holiday gifts.
  4. Shop early and take advantage of layaway plans. Retail stores gear up for holiday shopping earlier and earlier every year. That’s good for you because you can shop the best selection before the season actually begins and use the stores’ layaway plans to pay a small amount each week instead of charging large amounts to your credit card. By the time Christmas arrives, those gifts will already be paid for.
  5. Shop online. Nearly half of the population does their Christmas shopping online—you should consider it, too. Not only is it easy and convenient, it’s a lot more economical when you consider how much time and money you’ll save by not having to drive all over town buying gifts. Online shopping allows you to search for many unique items that can’t be found in retail stores. It’s also easy to compare prices, shipping costs and return policies. With just one click, you simply have to sit back and wait for the courier to deliver everything right to your front door. Remember to order early, though. By waiting until the last minute, you could end up spending quite a bit extra on rush shipping fees.
  6. Set up a Christmas Club account at your bank or credit union. If you haven’t done it yet, it’s probably too late for this year. However, once January arrives, start putting as much as you can into this account each month so when the 2015 shopping season rolls around, you’ll have cash in hand for all the gifts you need.

 

Buying gifts isn’t the only hardship on budgets during the holiday season. With holiday parties and family get-togethers, grocery shopping can put a dent in your savings as well. When planning your holiday menus, keep the following saving tips in mind:

  • Use coupons. Every little bit helps and even though saving a quarter or fifty cents may not seem like a lot, it all adds up.
  • Stock up early. Don’t wait till the day before the event to do your shopping. Plan ahead and buy items as they are on sale.
  • Shop the grocery store circulars and ads. Compare prices between your local grocery stores and take advantage of their special “loyalty club” offers.
  • Make a list. Be prepared to buy exactly what you need when you go to the store. Shopping without a list is a good way to buy unnecessary and costly items on impulse.

For more helpful ideas on how to avoid debt during the holidays, click on the following links:

http://financialhighway.com/10-money-saving-tips-for-a-debt-free-christmas/

http://www.businessinsider.com/5-ways-to-make-it-through-the-holidays-debt-free-2012-11

http://www.amazon.com/Debt-Proof-Your-Christmas-Celebrating-Holidays/dp/B00CC6PUZU

http://www.careonecredit.com/knowledge/how-to-keep-the-holiday-spirit-without-being-burdened-by-debt.aspx

http://www.careonecredit.com/knowledge/holidayentertainingonabudget.aspx

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