Finance Friday, Holiday Tips
Avoid Debt During the Holidays #financefriday #personalfinance #holidaydebt

5 Ways to Avoid Debt During the Holidays

Financial freedom is a lifestyle. According to personal finance guru, Suze Orman, “A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs of life.” During the holidays we can spend so much time wanting to make the holiday season a memorable occasion that we fail to make sure all of our finances are in order before the new year. It is my desire for my readers to know and understand that it is possible to avoid debt even during the holidays. Trust me, just because you think everyone has bought the world for their spouse and children, they have not. It is totally plausible to have a wonderful holiday season and avoid debt at the same time. Here are my top 5 tips that we use to keep our finances in order so we can enjoy financial peace in the upcoming new year.

Avoid Debt During the Holidays #financefriday #personalfinance #holidaydebt

 

Step 1 in avoiding holiday debt is to plan and budget. #holiday #debt #money1. PLAN AND BUDGET

Make sure that you have a set budget for how much you plan to spend on yourself and others. If you have an idea of how much you can spend on each person, then you will have a better idea of how much you can afford before you get to the checkout counter. This will help avoid unequal and disproportionate spending regrets later.

2. PAY CASH WHEN POSSIBLE

For a lot of people, credit cards can be a trap. Some studies have shown that people who use credit cards often spend more than if they were actually handing the cash over to the sales clerk. If you typically overspend during the holidays and during  the many after Christmas holiday sales, then buy using cash. You can also, benefit from putting things on lay-away. If you may not have all the cash on hand, lay-away will allow you to pay down on the item until you have the full amount.

3. AVOID ENTERTAINMENT SHOPPING

If you have everything you need, find another way to entertain yourself on days off rather than shopping. Shopping during times of boredom is a recipe for disaster. If you have a tendency to over spend on close-outs and sales, just avoid going to  stores and shopping online. Plan activities that are low-cost and free for you and your family to enjoy instead. If you’re in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia area, this is a great time of year to visit local free museums.

1 step to avoid dept, is to pay credit card bills before the bill arrives. #debt #finance4. PAY BEFORE THE BILL ARRIVES

Yes, our number one motto is to pay off our entire credit card bill before the bill arrives in the mail. This means that we don’t use our credit cards like temporary loans. Instead, when we use our credit cards, we make sure that there is enough money in the bank to cover all charges. After we make sure that we are not purchasing more than we can afford we then schedule a payment, almost immediately. Many credit card companies will allow you to log into your online account and schedule a payment, which helps you avoid debt. Thus, scheduling a payment for the complete balance will ensure that you will not be charged for interest. Not paying interest means that the sale item you purchased will remain a good deal.

5. KEEP YOUR RECEIPTS

There are occasions when we decide to make purchases and then change our mind. Sometimes the gift or item just isn’t want we expected or it is not a good fit for the person who received it. If this happens to be the case, the solution is simple, return it. Don’t think about who else you can give it to. Don’t try to contemplate keeping it so it can collect dust in your closet, just return and get your money back. Many stores require a receipt in order for you to receive the full purchase amount so keep an envelope handy with all of your holiday receipts.

THE ULTIMATE GOAL IS TO AVOID DEBT

If you want to avoid debt even more, consider making 100% of your gifts from the heart. Homemade gifts are sentimental and can be made from things around the house like cookie/pretzel holiday wreaths, cookie jars, and cards, photo collections, etc.

Reader Question:

Is there a tip I missed? How do you avoid holiday debt?

 
Reference:
BrainyQuote.com. Financial Quotes. Suze Orman Quote. retrieved December 30, 2014 from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/financial.html#pTVUtrf6zjDO16Vf.99
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  • #5 is KEY! Return the stuff! Sometimes, returning is definitely inconvenient, but it is so much better on your wallet in the long run. Great tips, and I love reading so many posts directed at not going into debt for the holidays.

  • Christmas can be a hard time to stay on budget but it’s so important. i personally never use any credit cards during the holidays. No debt for me!

  • Financial freedom is definitely a lifestyle! I tend to stick to tip 4 and pay the entire balance off. With the exception of a few large purchases I made over the years. Anytime Iā€™m thinking of giving a gift my first thought is a handmade gift I love crafts and I believe they tend to be more thoughtful and useful.

  • Carissa

    Pay bills before they arrive! This is what my husband and I did this year and it worked GREAT!!! We need to prep a little more but for the most part it turned out great!

    • Paying bills early, helps relieve the stress. I don’t mind using credit cards, but it’s important to pay the bill in full.

  • I think paying with cash is a good way. I know I got caught slipping in the past with the power of the overswipping.

  • KoKoa Magazine

    I just wrote about this too! I don’t play when it comes to not overspending. We have a one big gift limit. That plus our annual holiday vacation is more than enough. This year the big gift price limit is $100. That it is!

    • This post is from 2014, but all the tips still ring true for me and my family.

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