Debt Free Christmas
It is very easy to get overwhelmed and spend more than you can afford at Christmas time. In fact, on average Americans overspend by $1000 every year at Christmas time. In some cases, they haven’t even paid off the debt from the previous Christmas when the next Christmas rolls around. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank and here are a few tips I have for a debt-free Christmas.
Set a Budget for Each Person
Before you get started on your Christmas present shopping set a budget for every member of your family that you’re shopping for and stick by it! Make a list of every person you’re buying for and how close they are to you. It’s ok not to buy presents for people! Focus on the people who live in your house first. When it comes to shopping for kids don’t feel like you have to get them a dozen different things. A few slightly more expensive gifts are better than a ton of cheap ones.
Plan Meals in Advance
Make a list of everything you need for Christmas dinner in advance and carry it with you everywhere. Then when you go for your regular grocery shopping check to see if any of those items are on sale. If they are, stock up! That way when it comes to doing Christmas dinner shopping you only have to get items that are fresh and won’t store. You can also do this for all your food for the month of December that way you’re spending less of your paycheck on food and can focus on other things.
Start Shopping Early
This idea isn’t all that different from the one I previously mentioned, only this time we’re talking about everything else. I know some people who are finished with their Christmas present shopping by August! Now, I’m not saying you have to be that bold, but if you know there’s something you want to get someone get it early! This will help spread out the cost of Christmas and make it hurt a little less.
Check for Present Cost Online
Before you head out into the world to do your Christmas present shopping check the prices of the things you want to get online. That way you know if you’re getting a good deal or not while you’re out. If whatever you’re after is more expensive in a store then get it online!
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Christmas is that time of year when everyone is asking for something. It might be the bell ringer outside the grocery store or it might be your best friend wanting to go out for drinks for the third week in a row. The important thing to remember is that you can say no! You can even say that it just isn’t in your budget. If they aren’t understanding well…you don’t want them around anyway.
Focus on Cheap or Free Activities
When it comes time to finding fun festive activities try to keep an eye out for anything that is free or incredibly cheap. A visit to Santa shouldn’t cost you a dime! Finding the neighborhood in your town with impressive Christmas light displays is a great date and fun for kids too, plus it costs almost nothing.
Shop the End of Season Sales for Next Year
If you get to the end of Christmas and you know you’re going to need to buy new wrapping paper next year or any other Christmas specific item grab them when the sales start after Christmas is over. You’ll save yourself money next year and you’ll get them discounted, win all around!