Ah, it’s that time of year again. The holiday season. The time when kids are out from school, the weather makes transport and traffic more tedious and more importantly, spending goes through the roof because of all the parties and gatherings, as well as presents. That’s why I decided to start December off with a post of how to have a debt free Christmas.The holiday season is the most stressful and expensive time of the year for most adults in almost every country. It’s even more stressful for parents with kids, because apparently having only one Christmas gift is completely unacceptable to most kids nowadays.For everyone else that doesn’t have any financial burdens or social responsibilities, it’s the BEST time of the year!Unfortunately, I’m no longer part of the latter. So here are my tips for surviving the holiday season without incurring any debt. Follow these Christmas spending tips this year or next and see how much you can save.
Plan ahead and Shop EarlyThe easiest thing you can possibly do to keep your potential costs down is to shop ahead of the holiday season. When you’re not fuzzy minded about all the “great” deals and discounts all around you. Or bombarded with so many marketing messages about things you “must have”.Instead, get your shopping done ahead of time, way ahead of time. Buy things throughout the year while things are on sale and simply store them somewhere at home.Wrapping paper on sale after Christmas from last year? Grab it!Winter clothes at low prices during summer sale? Load up on those socks and sweaters!Cheap stocking fillers during going back to school sale? Stock up!See a store having a closing down sale? Go check it out.You get the point. Keep your eyes open throughout the year to get your holiday shopping done before it actually begins. If you plan ahead and know what you need to get you can effectively and easily use this strategy to lower your costs.This doesn’t just work because you’re taking advantage of low prices throughout the year, it also works because you’re spreading the cost out. This makes it easier to manage your finances.
Use Debit or Cash, Never CreditSo even if you use the above strategy, you’re still going to have a few things on your shopping list that you can’t get done before the holiday season. This means you’re going to have to go in the depths of shopping mania and try to avoid over buying and over spending.But no worries. Just don’t use your credit card.It’s almost too easy to swipe your card, or nowadays, hover it over the payment machine.Not using your credit card to pay for things is the easiest way to avoid overspending during the holiday season. It’s pretty simple. Don’t use money you don’t currently have and you’ll never find yourself in debt.If you’re ready to take it up a notch, you can only use cash and this way you’ll be more aware of how much you’re spending as well as how you’re spending it.Cash is a budget’s best friend.
Shop Online and start comparingShop online, if you don’t trust yourself to go into a shopping mall without leaving with 5 bags of things that weren’t on your shopping list.You know who you are.You tell yourself you just need to get some Christmas ornaments for the tree and then you leave the store with a gingerbread house making kit, a Christmas light fixture for the garden and a scarf.Avoid all of that by doing your shopping online. There’s many benefits to shopping online:
- You get to compare prices
- Read reviews and avoid buying something crappy
- You can still do your impulse shopping by putting things in your cart but stick to your budget by only buying what you need
- A major time saver compared to going to the mall and then “hunting” down the item