Christmas is truly the best time of the year! Holiday cheer and festive decorations are in full bloom. What isn’t there to love about this time of year?
The holiday season should be a joyous time spent with friends and family. Sadly, like most, I spend a large majority of the holiday season stressed if I’m going to I come out of it debt free!
I think some of the stress comes from the expectation of needing to give the best and the biggest gifts! Or to just giving presents in general, to everyone.. in sight..
Don’t get me wrong GIVING is GREAT but at what point do you draw the line. With all the holiday party’s to attend, money just starts jumping out of your pockets left and right and the next thing you know..
You’re in debt.. from Christmas.. and your New Years resolution becomes paying off your debt.
Who’s ready to stop spending the holidays stressed about money and start fully enjoying the season’s real meaning?
We’ve managed to have debt-free Christmas’s the past three years, so I thought I would share with you a few great tips on how you can stay debt-free this holiday season!
Start Your Christmas Shopping Early
When you live paycheck to paycheck and November rolls around, it’s unrealistic to think that if you just budget your money for a few weeks you will have enough money saved for holiday gifts.
Have you tried budgeting for the holidays before?
If not you should know that trying to budget during the holidays is almost impossible.
It can take months to perfect the art of budgeting, so giving your first try at budgeting during the holidays is a bad time to start. I recommend you start saving months in advance so when November rolls around you already have a nice size Christmas stash put away.
Then all that is left is the fun part, shopping!
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Christmas On A Budget
Have you started your Christmas fund? If not, you need to start one. A Christmas fund is any amount of money you have saved or put away for Christmas festivities.
Once you reach your Christmas fund goal, divide your money based on how many people you have to shop for.
This way you will know exactly how much you have to spend on each person. Then use that set amount of cash when you shop. This will ensure that you don’t go over your Christmas fund because Chrismas on a budget is happening this year!
Pay With Cash
Shopping with cash is the key too sticking to your budget and not spending more money than you have this holiday season.
If you need help figuring out your budget this guide to budgeting will help you get started.
If you haven’t started saving for Christmas this year there is still time!
Don’t give up hope.
If you save $35 for the next nine weeks you will have a little over $300 dollars to work with, for last-minute shopping. That is more than enough money for gifts for your family. It’s certainly better than having no money saved what so ever.
I highly recommend paying with cash this Christmas season.
Paying with cash hurts so much more because you will be aware of how much you spend and you’ll know exactly when you run out of money! It’s super important to keep a close eye on how much money you are spending when you are Christmas shopping.
You Aren’t Included In Your Budget
Buying for yourself is not in the budget this year!
This one is soo hard, I struggle a lot with it too. However, this will save you a lot of money and I religiously live by this rule of thumb.
During the months of November and December don’t buy anything for yourself. I know it’s so tempting when you are out walking through the mall, everything on display is calling your name.
Don’t fall for it! Keep walking!
This simple tip can save you hundreds.
Inexpensive Gift Giving
I know when I mentioned that $300 was more than enough to buy gifts for your family, some of you were probably rolling your eyes.
I promise you though, it’s not impossible. Have you tried handmade gifts? Gifts that are handmade not only cost less but have sentimental value that will last much longer than any store-bought gift.
Remember its the thought that counts!
If you don’t already do your Christmas shopping at one of the many Dollar Stores, you should. Especially if you are shopping for young kids. There are so many little gadgets there the kids will love.
I go there often for gift bags and cards. You can spend $5 at Target buying the same bag you can find at the dollar store for $1 and the same goes for cards.
I also recommend giving eCards a try. Instead of spending money on Christmas cards and taking the time to handwrite them all, just jump online. You can personalize an eCard for any holiday and send it via email.
I also encourage doing gift exchanges. If you have a lot of siblings this works great! Then you are only buying a gift for one person instead of the whole tribe.
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Get A Part-Time Side Hustle
If you need some extra cash what is the best way to get it?
So many companies open their doors to new employees during the holidays to handle the heavy flow of traffic. If you need to make more money this is a great way to get it.
Come check out how our side hustle made us $22,000 last month!
Use Rakuten When Shopping Online
Do you do any of your shopping online?
If so, Rakuten (formally known as Ebates) is my favorite way to save money while shopping online.
If you haven’t given Rakuten a try you should. They reward you for shopping at your favorite stores online.
Then you get cash rewards simply by shopping through Rakuten. I then use that money to put towards other Christmas necessities. It’s super easy!!
Best of all when you use our link to sign up for Rakuten and you get a $10 welcome bonus!
Related article: Rakuten Review: Our Honest Opinion Of This Cash Back Site
Skip The Sales
I’ve found that I spend more money when I go looking for sales than when I buy things at regular price. Does this sound like you?
Don’t get me wrong I love a good sale if it fits in the budget.
However, shopping during huge sales such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday is usually a no-no in my book.
I’d call myself a pro budgeter but during those sales, it’s close to impossible to stay on budget.
Gift People With Your Presence
I have yet to give this a try myself but in theory, it sounds like a great idea.
If you are short on cash this year skip gift-giving and give the gift of your presence. I can guarantee that your family and friends would rather have you at the holiday party without a gift than not there at all.
Give the gift of yourself this year, oh and let us know how it goes;)
Take Online Surveys To Score Gift Cards
If you are looking for a little extra money for the holidays, online surveys are an easy way to earn an extra $100. These survey sites are very simple to use and payout in the form of gift cards, which is perfect for holiday shopping.
My favorite survey sites:
< Swagbucks– You get a free $10 sign up bonus just for joining.
< Inbox Dollars– Grab your free $5 sign up bonus
Here are 40 other ways to make money if you don’t enjoy surveys.
There you have it, a handful of great ways to stay out of debt and have a debt-free Christmas this year!
Remember the true meaning of the holiday season! Stop feeling obligated to buy gifts, especially ones you can’t afford. There are always other ways to give this season.
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