Things continue to be rough for many families across the country, and the holiday season tends to make problems either show themselves for the first time or grow exponentially. But, that does not mean that you need to add to your debt to make up for it this holiday season.
It is okay to tell your children that Santa is broke this year. Here are several ways that you can avoid adding to your debt this Christmas. There are ways that you can learn how to stay out of debt this Christmas and holiday season.
Use Your Credit Card Reward Points
My wife and I love to earn reward points with our credit card. We use the points at the end of each year as a way to get free gift cards that we ultimately give to our friends and family members each Christmas. Throughout the year my wife and I use our credit card to earn reward points.
The reward points that we earned throughout the year help supplement our gift giving and helps to keep us from going into debt this Christmas and every holiday season. You can find great deals on reward points when you compare credit cards and pick the right one that will earn you the most points on the things that you buy most.
Points.com helps the world’s leading loyalty brands engage their members in entirely new ways – both on Points.com and through their own loyalty program websites.
Points.com is the world’s leading loyalty program management site, helping users get more flexibility and value from their airline, hotel, retail, and credit-card loyalty programs.
On Points.com, users can track all their loyalty balances in one place, earn points and miles faster, and redeem for gift cards, exchange and trade loyalty currencies between programs, and buy points and miles to reach loyalty rewards faster.
Points.com is proud partners with more than 45 of the world’s leading loyalty brands, including Air France KLM, Hyatt, Virgin America, Jet Blue, Alaska Airlines, US Airways, IHG, Starwood Hotels, Southwest Airlines, and many more.
Earn Free Gift Cards When You Buy
One thing that I love during the holidays are the deals that retailers and especially restaurants give when you purchase gift cards to give as gifts. Many national restaurant chains offer deals such as giving away a free $10 gift card when you purchase $25 worth of gift cards.
These can be great ways to get gift cards to give to your loved ones during the holidays doing something that you normally do anyway (go out to eat). You can also use these gift cards to save you money while eating out at restaurants as well. Whether you give these extra gift cards to friends or save them for yourself, they can be a great way to save money and avoid debt this Christmas.
Look Online For Deals And Set Percentage Points Off
One thing that a friend said to me recently really struck a chord. He said that he never pays retail prices online for anything. He taught me that he always looks for deals and checks comparison sites before making a purchase. He also checks websites like RetailMeNot.com to find some of the best online coupons before buying any items or even services online. This was a great tip that has ultimately saved me a lot of money over the past year or so. Now you can also compare prices right on your smartphone as well.
GiftCards.com and PlasticJungle.com. Some current deals on gift cards on Plastic Jungle let you buy gift cards at the following discounts for these retailers: up to 15% off at JC Penny, 20% off at Boston Market, 10% at Pottery Barn, 7% off Home Depot, 5% off Target, and many other top brands! We also have a good inventory of airline and gas cards.and many other national brands.
Make Hard Cuts To Your List
Do all of your aunts and cousins really need a Christmas gift from you this year? Would they understand if you told them that you are only giving gifts to your immediate family this year in order to save money and avoid adding to your debt this Christmas season? They will most likely understand your plight because we have all been struggling these past few years.
Set Spending Limits For The Holidays This Year
The hardest word to say in the English language is no. No! But, it is a critical one in my family when it comes to staying out of debt this Christmas. My wife and I set a spending limit for the holidays and all of the gifts we give. While budgeting is not a fun topic for anyone, it is incredibly important. You have to have a spending plan and set a limit to keep yourself and your family out of debt this Christmas.
You may not be ready to think about it yet, but Christmas as the holiday season is rapidly approaching us. And, we all know that the holidays are an expensive time of the year. One reason is that we are a very generous society and love holiday gift giving.
One recent survey found that Americans spend over $500 per year on gifts for our friends and family. We love to give and giving can quickly add up and become a budget buster.
But, there are a few ways that you can make this a perfect year and still give gifts that make you just as happy as those who receive them without living a case of buyer’s remorse or a pile of credit card debt.
Five Ways To Make Holiday Gift Giving Perfect This Year
Start Budgeting Now For Christmas Gifts
You should start budgeting for your Christmas gift purchases now if you have not done so already. Do you spend the average of $500 on gifts every year? How much did you spend last year? Do you spend wisely when it comes to your holiday shopping?
Divide that amount by the number of paycheck you have left until the holidays, and that is how much you should shoot for setting aside. Budgeting will help you stay away from using your credit cards and falling into the debt trap.
Now is the time to start thinking about holiday gift giving and the gifts that you will give to your friends and loved ones. Do not wait until the holiday’s are right upon us.
Buy Holiday Gifts A Little Bit At A Time
Last month, my four year-old boy showed me a toy that he wanted in the toy store, the Imaginex Aircraft Carrier. The toy is wickedly expensive for a random act of toy store kindness from a father, but it would make a great Christmas present.
So, last week, I went back to that same toy store and bought the gift and hid it for Christmas. Buying things a little at a time can help you take small bites out of the total amount of money you want to spend in gifts this year and make it more manageable.
Start Looking For Sales Now
If you have a list of what your spouse, children, family, and best friends love to receive, you should always be on the look for sales of those items. One thing that a reader recently brought to my attention was that you can set up Google Alerts based on certain keywords that will help alert you immediately to when things like a sale of your favorite items go on sale letting you know the perfect price for that holiday gift giving item.
Look For Discounts Through Social Media
I had never thought about looking for deals on things on Twitter until one of my followers of @MoneyQandA mentioned scoring discount codes on Twitter. Use the search function, put in the name of the store or website you are thinking about using along with something like “coupon code” in the search box to find great discounts on your overall purchases at those sites.
Consider also signing up for the newsletter of your favorite store or chain to receive a discount. For example, readers of the Guitar Center’s newsletter constantly receive some awesome coupons to use either on their website or in any one of their brick and mortar stores as well around the country.
Listen To Your Loved Ones Along The Way
One of my favorite things to do is write down things on a Christmas list that my wife and children say they wish we could buy all throughout the year. It never fails that my children always see some toy that they think is awesome and wish we had enough money in the budget to purchase right then. Another great one is to get an off-the-wall gift from stores like as seen on tv – they’re always unexpected and there have been some real winners over the years.
My wife is the same way and always tells me things that she loves (new furniture, jewelry, etc.). So, I am always making secret notes all year long, and when these items find their way under the Christmas tree at the end of the year, it is an incredible surprise that they often had forgotten about.
Christmas and the holidays can be a very trying time for a family especially if you are living paycheck to paycheck just trying to make ends meet. With a little planning, budgeting, and starting early, you can have a Christmas to remember without the extra weight of credit card bills and debt that can follow you for months to come after the holidays are over.
Did you already miss the boat this year? Now is the time to start thinking about next year. Do you spend the average $500 during the holidays on gifts? If you saved $40 per month or $20 per paycheck, you could have a debt free Christmas next year.
It is time to bring back the Christmas Club Savings Accounts, or you can just create your own. There are several ways that you can avoid adding to your debt this Christmas. There are ways that you can learn how to stay out of debt this Christmas and holiday season.
How do you avoid adding debt during the holidays? Let me know your tactics in the comment section!