You know it’s that time of the year, when the air grows crisp and the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg rides upon the night’s breeze. When your inner child longs for the comfort of your family and friends and when stores bombard you with every sale known to man.Yes! Ladies and Gentlemen, I am talking about that time of the year that brings out the joy and peace to the young and old at heart, but if not carefully managed, it can bring out the dreaded anxiety and misery for those who have not prepared. If you’ve made a vow to stay out of debt this holiday season you may be feeling the pressure from all the commercials, mailers, and emails to get out there and shop until you drop. Many stores hope that the adrenaline rush shoppers receive as they scramble to try and snatch up items that are available in only limited quantities on Black Friday will cause them to continue to shop for items that may not have been on their original list. This type of in the moment shopping will lead them to spend more which in turn leads to opening up new credit cards in hopes of getting an add’l percentage off or the promise of no interest until a certain date. If you don’t want to fall victim to overspending here are some tips that will show you how to stay out of debt this holiday season.
- Instead of buying gifts for everyone participate in Secret Santa’s. With Secret Santa, you only have to purchase a gift for one person, and there is almost always a price limit. If you’re one of the organizers, you can easily negotiate how to much the limit is. This saves everyone in the group the anxiety of having to buy for everyone.
- Only shop with Cash! Going holiday shopping with a credit card is basically asking to overspend. When you swipe a credit card, you have no mental or emotional attachment to the money. Therefore, you spend more and don’t think about it until the bill comes. This holiday season try doing all your shopping with cash. When you shop knowing you only have the cash in your wallet to spend your entire thought process changes. Your desire to impulse shop will become nonexsistant as you become more mentally aware of the finite amount of money you’re carrying.
- Don’t guilt shop! Many of us are guilty of guilt shopping. We feel that just because someone purchased a gift for us then we must reciprocate. Don’t let the generosity of others shame you into having to go outside your budget to purchase gifts for them. Many people give gifts because they want to and not because they are expecting something in return.
- If you’re working your debt snowball and working hard to pay off debt, don’t let the Holiday Season slow you down. Instead of spending money on gifts go the extra mile to make the holiday special by volunteering to help family members with household errands, gathering in the kitchen to cook as a family, or other simple acts of kindness. Remember, the holidays is about spending time with family and not how much you can impress with gifts.
- Start planning for Christmas in January. Christmas falls on the same date each and every single year yet it always amazes me how many people are unprepared for the holiday. If you’re someone who likes to be able to buy gifts each year start planning out your Christmas budget early. Saving as little as $50 a month will give you $600 to shop with come the holidays. Depending on what types of gift you’re planning to give this is more than enough money to purchase quality gifts for several recipients