Every year people spend more on Christmas than any other holiday. It is a time to show our love and generosity to family and friends by buying gifts. This often leaves many people with credit card debt that lasts long after the holiday decorations have been packed away. Fortunately there are ways to plan and save for the holiday to keep from going into debt.
The first thing is to plan and save for Christmas spending. Many people think of Christmas as the time to dip into emergency savings accounts or use a credit card. Christmas is a holiday that comes every year, not an emergency. Set up a savings account and put money in throughout the year. Many banks can set up a holiday savings account that only allows customers to withdraw during the holiday season.
Make a list of people to buy for and set a spending limit for each person. This is a great way to budget for Christmas and can keep you on track with spending. This way you will know how much you need to save or how much you are able to spend. Stay within the limit you set for each person.
Shop on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The Friday and Monday after Thanksgiving are the biggest shopping and online shopping days for a reason. The deals are usually amazing and the prices are the lowest they will be for the season. Cyber Monday offers deals for shoppers who aren’t into braving the crowded malls and box stores.
When you go shopping pay in cash. It is easy to overspend with credit cards and even with debit cards. Paying in cash makes shoppers more aware of what they are spending and can help you stay within a spending limit.
Talk with extended family about gift giving and set some guidelines. Buying gifts for every person can be expensive and exhausting. Agreeing to purchase a gift for each family versus a separate gift for each member of the family can save time and money. Another option is to agree to only buy gifts for kids in the family.
Consider buying used. While many people imagine new items under the tree a vintage gift may be just as good as new to the right person. Used books also make great gifts. They are cheaper than new books, which means that shoppers can get more for their money.
Spend less by spending more time doing things with and for loved ones. While an exciting new toy may be all that kids can talk about during the holidays nothing can compare to the memories that can be made during and afternoon of cookie baking. Another way to give your time is to make Christmas Coupons. These can be redeemed for a night of babysitting so parents can enjoy a night out or help with yard work from the gift giver.
Homemade gifts are another way to avoid debt while still giving something nice to friends and family. Making brownie or cookie mix in a jar can be fun for the gift giver and the recipient. Jams and jellies also make great gifts. Check out a site like allrecipes.com for ideas for food gifts in a jar.
Another way to save money is to avoid things like Secret Santa gift exchanges in the workplace. Many offices do a gift exchange for fun but these can be expensive. Even though there is usually a price limit chances are you may be spending around $15 for someone you might not know that well. Suggest skipping the office gift exchanges and collecting money or donations for Toys for Tots or a local food shelf.
The holidays will be more enjoyable when you don’t have to worry about debt. Decide what is most important to you. If giving the best gift to every family member is most important to you start saving in advance.