The fall season is approaching and you know what that means- it’s almost time for the holidays. Soon, department and grocery stores will be decked out in trees, lights, and all kinds of Christmas decor. Holiday sales will start to crop up until the ultimate shopping day of the year- Black Friday.
Those of us who dislike consumerism might be annoyed with the holiday hoopla that never seems to end, but most of us will still participate to a certain extent. After all, it takes a pretty big scrooge to skip over the holidays altogether, right?
Have a Debt-Free Christmas
Even though I don’t love the holidays, I have two small children that look forward to them all year. And since they are only 3 and 5, they still believe in the magic of Santa and his reindeer. Because of that, I would never rob them of the wonder of the holiday season and I always step up to make sure Santa is generous- on a budget, of course.
But, is it possible to give generous gifts without going into debt?
Of course it is- but you have to set limits and stick with them. These simple tips can also help:
- Create a gift-giving budget- It is extremely easy to spend more on gift than you planned, which is exactly why a gift-giving budget is so important. To create one of your own, list every person you need to buy for and assign a dollar value for their gift. Once you’ve drawn up your plans, you have to stick with them!
- Stop buying for so many people- It might be tempting to buy for everyone in your family for eternity, but that doesn’t mean that it’s fair. At a certain point in your life, you’ll probably have to prioritize Christmas gift-giving by removing certain family members and friends from the list.
- Shop sales- You don’t have to experience the madness that is Black Friday to get a good deal. The truth is, there are plenty of sales during the months leading up to Christmas. When in doubt, check newspaper ads or the internet to compare prices for all the gifts on your loved one’s wish lists. Prices can vary widely, so it always pays off to shop around.
- Pay cash- It’s easy to whip out your plastic when purchasing gifts for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean that it’s smart. If you’re worried about going into debt over the holidays, make sure to pay cash for everything on your list. Once you create a gift-giving budget, you can even put the cash in an envelope and spend it until it’s gone.
All of tips can make a huge difference in your holiday spending this year, but there are other ways to save as well. For example, it’s important to remember that Christmas gift-giving is not a contest. There are no awards given for the best or most expensive gift- or for creativity or fancy wrapping. People who really love and care about you will appreciate the fact that you thought about them to begin with, and won’t expect something over the top.
The same is true with kids. One way to keep the financial aspect of the holidays from getting out of hand is to keep expectations low. Real low. Buy your children some well-made, useful gifts and teach them to appreciate the things they already own.
And never forget what the holidays are really about- celebrating your religious beliefs and spending time with the people you love.
How are you saving for Christmas? Have you done any shopping yet?
About The Author: This post was written by VOSA Staff Writer Holly Johnson. Holly is a wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She is the co-founder of Club Thrifty. Check out more of her super awesome skills at clubthrifty.com. If you’re interested in writing for Vosa contact us here.
Afterword From Brent
There is NO worse way to start the year that by being saddled by a bunch of credit card debt from overspending at Christmas.
Gifts don’t need to be extravagant to be thoughtful or well received. Some of my favorite gifts I’ve received over the years hake been made by the gifter and/or were experience based gifts that didn’t cost a fortune.
Of course, if you’re been reader of VOSA for a while you’re probably sitting there with a big smile on your face because way back on December 10, 2013 you set up your automated savings plan for Christmas 2014. If you didn’t, make today the day you set it up for 2015.
Let me be the first to say… “Happy holidays!”
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