Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of the year when people celebrate and enjoy time with friends and family. Instead, Christmas often ends up being a very stressful time as a result of financial worries. It is really easy to go overboard with Christmas presents and it is also really tempting to just throw some gifts on the credit card for your family and friends. Unfortunately, you may find yourself regretting this soon after you’ve gone into debt to bring Christmas joy into your home. When you get the bills in January, you’ll definitely be sorry about your holiday spending.
Things don’t have to be this way, though, as there are plenty of ways that you can have a very merry Christmas without breaking the bank.
How to Avoid Going Into Debt This Christmas Season
To avoid going into debt this holiday season and enjoy a debt free Christmas, here are a few tips that you should consider:
- Set a budget and stick to it. The single best way to avoid going into debt for Christmas is to know how much you have available to spend and to stick to that number. You should look at how much money you have, carefully think about how much of it you want to devote to the holidays and assign yourself a budget. You can even break this down further and decide how much you want to spend for each person on your Christmas list so you can allocate the money.
- Get some coupon advice. Using coupons can help you to avoid going into debt in several different ways. One option, of course, is to make use of coupons when you are buying gift items for friends and family. There are coupons available for a huge variety of different stores and for a huge variety of different products so you should be able to find something for almost everyone on your list. You can also consider making use of coupons to save money on items that you need to buy anyway. Then, pocket the money you save through your coupon use and use it to supplement your Christmas budget. If you start early enough in the year and get the right coupon advice, you could even save enough by using coupons to cover much of the cost of holiday gifts.
- Consider creative gifts. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a meaningful gift or to get a gift someone will love. For example, you can give of your time and you can give items that you make yourself. Instead of a costly gift for your friend with the new baby, for example, you could offer an evening of babysitting so she could get some rest or enjoy a date with her husband. With your own significant other, you two cook a romantic meal or offer coupons for a foot massage rather than going out and buying an expensive present (as long as you know your spouse will be alright with that). Remember, sometimes, it is the things that don’t cost money that are the best presents.
- Budget all year or take advantage of lay-away solutions. Christmas comes at the same time every year, so you shouldn’t be surprised by it when it rolls around. Instead of trying to get all of the holiday money you need right at the last minute, you should consider setting aside money over the course of the year in a special account that you are going to use only for holiday gifts. This way, when Christmas arrives, you will already have the money available to you and you can use it to buy what you need. You can also use a layaway solution at many different stores in order to pay on gifts throughout the year so that they are already purchased when Christmas comes.
- Simplify. Remember, you don’t have to say yes to every holiday party invitation and you don’t have to go completely overboard with the parties you throw or the gifts you buy. Christmas is about people, not about presents, so enjoy your time with your family and friends and don’t worry so much about having the biggest and best gifts under the tree.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can have a wonderful holiday and you won’t regret your Christmas spending when January rolls around.
Bill Gordon is a full time, stay-at-home dad. He also makes a living blogging about, well…everything. He’s been freelancing for eight years now and swears he’ll never do anything else. That said, staying frugal is very important to him.