If you want to avoid holiday debt, you need to be proactive, exercise self-control and really pay attention to how you spend money. According to Magnify Money, in 2016 the average consumer took on approximately $1,003 in new debt thanks to holiday spending. To stay out of debt during the holidays, download my free holiday budget worksheet and follow the below tips to avoid holiday debt. There is lots of free helpful holiday budgeting help out there, such as the Santa’s Bag and Mint apps. With a few hacks here and there, you can still enjoy giving your loved ones holiday gifts AND avoid holiday debt.
Avoid Holiday Debt With These Hacks
If you don’t want to spend 2018 trying to pay off holiday credit card debt, try utilizing these top hacks to avoid holiday debt.
REVIEW LAST YEAR’S HOLIDAY SPENDING – Figure out what you spent last year either by going through bank records or credit card statements. You need a realistic starting point to forecast what you will spend this year.
FIGURE OUT HOW MUCH YOU HAVE TO SPEND THIS YEAR – Look at your income and expenses and figure out how much you have to spend on the holidays. Be honest with yourself. If you figured out that you spent $1,000 last year on the holidays and you plan to spend that again, set $1,000 aside for this year. If you simply don’t have the funds, then try not to reach for the credit card. Instead try some of the below hacks to avoid holiday debt.
MAKE AN ITEMIZED GIFT LIST WITH A BUDGET – Now that you have a realistic dollar amount of how much you can spend to avoid holiday debt, it’s time to make a list of who you will buy gifts for and how much you want to spend on each gift in order to stay out of debt during the holidays. Really try to stick to this budget.
LOOK FOR HIDDEN FEES – When making purchases, be sure to look for hidden fees, such as insurance, add-ons and shipping fees.
DO NOT TAKE ON NEW RETAIL CREDIT CARDS WHEN SHOPPING – It’s easy to get lured in by the discounts retailers offer if you open a credit card for their store. Don’t get caught in this trap. If you want to stay out of debt, it’s better to have less credit cards – as the temptation to just put purchases on the credit cards can lead to a credit card debt spiral.
SAVE CHANGE – We did this growing up and although the idea seems antiquated, it works! Save your change and see how it adds up and turns into dollars down the road.
CURB SPENDING IN OTHER AREAS DURING THE HOLIDAYS – We live in an instant gratification world where it’s hard to say no to the things we want. Make your coffee at home instead of paying for Starbucks. Want to see an old friend for a holiday meal? Cook the meal at home with a good (but low-priced) bottle of wine from Trader Joe’s. If you normally host a catered holiday party, host a potluck party instead. Need a new outfit to a holiday party? Go to a second-hand clothing store. If you live in a warmer climate, go on a nice, free walk outside. Rent a movie to watch at home rather than going to the theatre. Exercising self-control can help you stay free of holiday credit card debt.
LOOK FOR DEALS AND PRICE COMPARE – Technology makes bargain shopping easy. Look online to make sure you are getting the best price for the item you want to purchase. Follow your favorite stores on Instagram and Facebook to see when they are offering deals. Also sign up for their emails. You can always unsubscribe after the holidays.
DIY GIFTS – “Do it Yourself” gifts truly come from the heart and are often more special to receive than generic store-bought gifts. Here is a link to some crafty holiday present ideas.
HOLIDAY SIDE HUSTLE – Lots of retailers need extra help around the holidays, as do shipping and delivery companies. Christmas tree lots are a prime example of seasonal sales that need extra workers on hand. With all the holiday parties going on, see if you can get some work with a catering company or party planner as a server. If you are crafty, make items to sell at farmer’s markets or online
USE CASH OR DEBIT CARDS – To stay free of holiday credit card debt, don’t use your credit cards. Use cash or debit card instead. Of course if you plan on paying off your credit card right away and you are trying to earn points on your credit card, then that is fine. But it’s all too easy to swipe that piece of plastic and worry about the consequences later.
Check out our Holiday Hacks To Avoid Debt Infographic to pin to Pinterest!
Avoid Holiday Debt and Start Off the New Year with a Clean Slate!
The above mentioned ways to avoid holiday debt can help you start the new year with a clean slate. How many years have you looked at your credit card statement in January and groaned? If you do overspend and find that you need to get help with holiday debt, then give me a call. I offer a free debt relief consultation to go over your specific needs and offer solutions to your debt problems. Most of us have found ourselves in debt at one time or another. The good news is, that there is a way out of debt. Read about my client debt relief success stories to learn about people just like you who are now living a life free of debt. Happy holidays!
Daniel R. Gamez, an attorney focusing exclusively in debt relief, is licensed to practice in all state and federal courts in California and Texas. Mr. Gamez owns and operates the Gamez Law Firm in San Diego, CA. For more information, please contact Daniel Gamez at 858-217-5051, daniel@gamezl