After Thanksgiving tomorrow, Christmas shopping will be in full swing. According to ABC Surveys by the Harris Poll indicate that 28% of shoppers are entering this holiday season still paying off debt from last year! If you have debt lingering around from the 2017 Christmas season, get that debt knocked out before shopping this year! Today, I’ll share a few tips for avoiding debt this Christmas season and keeping that shopping budget in check.
News, consumer counseling agencies see a 25% increase in the number of people seeking help in January and February, predominately from people struggling with Christmas debt.
First, make a list of who you will be buying gifts for and then come up with a few ideas that might fit their interests. I would encourage you to ‘Like’ the Facebook pages of our local businesses as they often highlight sales and upcoming promotions that they have on items that might be on your list. It is our local businesses who are supporting our communities, let’s make sure to shop there first!
|Nearly one third of shoppers have Christmas debt from last year|
lingering. Make 2018 different with common sense shopping!
Photo by Kaleb Lewis
Another option may be to do something fun like a ‘White Elephant’ Gift exchange where each person brings one fun gift that is exchanged. Within gift exchange groups, it is perfectly acceptable to choose a monetary limit on the value of the gifts. So often when I mention these ideas to other people, I get a resounding, “I wish we would do that!’ Bring it up…. chances are you’re not the only one in your family who is ready for a change!
Rather than buying a gift for everyone in a family, perhaps think of one gift for the whole family. This might be a magazine or movie subscription, a game the whole family would enjoy, a professional photo session, or a membership to a local gym or bowling alley, for example. For children, consider the ‘4 Gift Rule’ – buy your children something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read.
In terms of sticking to the budget, leave the plastic at home and take cash when shopping. If your Christmas budget is $200 and you take $200 in cash with you shopping, when it’s gone, it’s gone. There are also emotional triggers that occur when you physically use cash that don’t occur when using plastic. Those emotional triggers in the brain makes you think twice about spending.
If you are planning to shop with a friend or family member, ask them to hold you accountable to your budget. If they are going to encourage you to buy more, that your kids need or would love that, that you deserve that ‘treat’ for yourself, they are not the right person to be shopping with! Remember, you will thank yourself in January when you don’t have Christmas debts to pay.