The holiday season is in full swing, which means that it’s time to start thinking about buying gifts and booking holidays. As exciting as that may be, you cannot go overboard; otherwise, you’ll end up spending too much, and once the holidays are over, you’ll regret all the debt you’ve taken on. No holiday is worth that kind of stress, so it’s important to avoid getting buried in holiday debt no matter how difficult the Christmas cheer makes it to control your spendings. But don’t worry – it’s possible to have fun holidays and be charitable this winter even when you’re on a budget. You just need a good plan.
Winter holidays can be tough on anyone’s budget. Even when you factor in end-of-the-year bonuses, the expenses are sure to set you back a bit. First, you’ll need to buy gifts for friends and family. Next, you should get the Christmas tree or other decorations to deck your home in the holiday spirit. Then, you may want to go on vacation, even if it’s just to visit family. Even if you shop creatively to save some money, the bill will have sent your head spinning by the time you get to treating yourself.
The hard truth is that you’ll need to give up some things when you’re looking to celebrate on a budget. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself! The key is finding cheap or free holiday fun. Go out and play in the snow, use last year’s decorations, or throw a party at your own home instead of going out. Just spending time with friends and family and making memories can be a great way to spend the holidays without spending a lot of money.
Holiday debt is typically accumulated on credit cards, making it one of the worst types of debt. It’s easy to fall into without really noticing and hard to get out of. So it’s best to avoid it by following some wise spending habits during the winter season.
The simplest way to avoid debt is to decide in advance how much you can spend and then stick to the plan. By now, you should be used to creating a household budget; creating a holiday budget is not too different from that. Start by taking a look at your finances. See how much you can afford to spend. It’s important to be realistic at this stage. If you set your budget too high, you’ll go into debt even if you stick to it. Instead, it’s better to set your budget too low; then, you can spend whatever’s left on an extra treat.
There’s nothing worse than doing all your Christmas shopping two days before the holiday. Not only is it stressful but also expensive. By then, all the sales have passed, and you can only buy the things nobody else wanted (often the most expensive things). Instead, it’s better to start ticking the boxes on your holiday shopping list already in November. That way, you can take advantage of Black Friday sales and early bird offers.
Learn to prioritize your expenses
You probably want to get a gift for every family member and friend you have. But if you are a large family living on a budget, that’s not always possible. It’s a tough choice, but you’ll need to count someone out. Focus on those most important to you – your spouse, your children, your parents, your best friend. You can always send cards to those who don’t make the cut. If it comes down to it, you can forgo those too. The truth is that some expenses (mortgages, groceries, gas) come before gifts and cards. So prioritize those, even if it means not giving any presents this year.
The holidays are not the only thing you’ll be spending money on at the end of the year. You’ll still have all your regular expenses. In fact, you may have some extra costs too – perhaps you’ll need some new winter clothes, or you’ll need to equip your car for icy roads. Many people choose to move at this time of year because it’s cheaper than relocating in the summer. If you’re one of them, the moving experts behind simplemoving.us advise looking for ways to save money on your relocation. As long as you still know where your priorities lie, this can be a great way to avoid holiday debt. If you save money on other things, you’ll have more to spend on holiday cheer.
Remember that not all gifts are material
Everyone likes getting gifts. But that’s not all that the holidays are about. More than anything, they’re about spending time with your family and having fun with your friends. And you don’t need to spend money to do that. So think about gifts that aren’t material. Visit a nearby town, skate on a frozen lake, bake gingerbread cookies with your children. You may still need to invest a bit in experiences, but it won’t be as much as you usually spend during the holidays.
If it’s too late to avoid getting buried in holiday debt, you’ll need to figure out how to deal with it instead. Obviously, you’ll need to pay off your credit cards. You should get on this as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more the interest grows and the higher the amount you have to pay back. So have your fun during the holidays. But once they’re over, start saving everywhere you can. Give up the luxuries of eating out and driving everywhere; make the most of the clothes you have so you don’t have to replace them; cut out any expenses that are not strictly necessary. You want to pay off your holiday debt quickly, and that will require some sacrifice.