Do you need to know some ways to avoid getting into debt at Christmas? If you spend the New Year waiting for the bills to come in and wondering how you're going to pay them, then you're spending too much. It's never worth spending money you can't afford because you want to splash out on yourself or the kids. Here are some ways to avoid getting into debt at Christmas …
One of the best ways to avoid getting into debt at Christmas is to be organised and plan your spending ahead of time. It may be a bit late for this year, but for next year start putting money aside every month from early in the year. $50 a month will give you $600 to spend, and that's more than enough for presents and food.
You might want to spend a small fortune stocking up on festive food and gifts, but if your income doesn't support a lavish feast then you should scale down your spending. Plan meals so that you don't buy too much food; you don't need to buy everything on offer in the stores! And instead of buying several expensive presents for the kids, get one main gift and a few stocking fillers.
Christmas is one of the most expensive times of the year for traveling, so if you live a long distance from family consider staying at home. You can always visit them when travel is cheaper (and the weather better). Or they could visit you (although bear in mind the costs of entertaining someone, and try to keep that within reason by following my other tips).
When you get caught up in the excitement (or stress) of buying gifts, it's easy to overlook the other normal expenses you have. Always prioritise your regular bills such as rent and utilities, and remember that you have to buy food and put gas in your car. If you start your shopping in November, remember that rent and other bills will be coming out of your account in December.
If your budget is limited, keep your spending affordable by setting a top limit for each gift. You can buy something really nice without spending a lot. Or you can do what many families do, whether cash-strapped or not, and agree to buy presents just for children and not for adults.
If you pay for gifts on your credit card, put the money aside to settle the bill when it comes in. This can make sense when it offers extra consumer protection. Otherwise you should pay for gifts and food in cash, to avoid a large credit card bill after Christmas.
Finally, you can often (though not always) cut down the costs of buying gifts by making your own. Handmade gifts are much appreciated, as people enjoy receiving something special and unique. If you're a talented cook or love crafts, this is a brilliant way of saving money while still giving lovely gifts.
However much you love Christmas, it just isn't worth getting into debt for. So rein in your spending and make sure that you won't get a shock when you see your credit card bills! You can still have a fantastic celebration on a budget. What is the most important thing about Christmas for you?
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