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How to Avoid Debt During the Holiday Season

This is the time of year when the Holidays are quickly approaching, and emotional spending can get us into debt. A debt we didn’t think was possible.   January leads to remorse and scrambling of how we can come up with extra cash.

Apply the practical tips below, and you won’t be looking for a second job in the new year!

Set Spending Limit

I know this is usually the first thing on every list. I avoided the word budget, but you need to budget how much you have to spend. Holiday shopping is generally spent on others and not yourself, so make a list of who you are giving gifts to in priority.

That means it would go something like this:





and anything after can be if the budget allows.

Co-workers, Teachers, Neighbors, etc.

Don’t start your list with a massive amount of people. Instead, try to figure out how much you can spend and get frustrated you don’t have enough money for everyone.

Gifts do not need to be extravagant.

Related: Why It the Most Important Thing You Can Do- Live Below Your Means

Give Thought to Gifts Early

We all know Christmas is the same date every year- December 25th. You have a whole year to plan for it. Pay attention to what your family is telling you they like or would love to have. Make special notes of it.  The best gifts are thoughtful gifts.

It takes time to find out and listen to what your loved ones would enjoy.

It’s stressful and will bring on buyers remorse when you are scrambling to find something two days before Christmas, and the person who receives it gives a quick ‘Thanks.”

If you are going to spend your hard-earned cash, you want it to be something they love.

Read or Pin: 6 Things to Do Now for The Holiday Season Preparation 

Shop Early

Start shopping early.  The best sales start in October, and it’s a great time to look for deals on items or start making your own.

Follow our Deal Blog For The Latest Online Deals and Freebies

Make Your Own Gifts

Long gone are the days of people thinking you made them a gift because you are broke! Instead, homemade gifts are usually the most thoughtful because that person was probably thinking of you every time they worked on the present.

If you are planning on making something for your loved ones this year, be sure to give yourself enough time and prepare for all the expenses of the supplies you need to make it. I’ve been there seeing cute gift ideas in magazines and running to Michaels to get my supplies and realizing I don’t have enough, or I spent way more than if I just bought it on clearance!

Sometimes homemade gifts aren’t worth the extra stress if you find something quick to make to save money and you really have no idea how to do it. What I mean is don’t decide you will learn how to sew and make pillows for everyone a few weeks before Christmas and hope you have the natural ability!

Yes, that was me, and you may have the natural ability, but just a heads up for those in the same boat as I am.

Related: How to Make a Free Essential Oil Holder

Don’t Give the Gift of Stuff

We can quickly get caught up in our stuff. Materialistic stuff, right? I’ve written a whole post on how to stop being an emotional spender because I know the struggle.

Think about if the person needs more “stuff.” The trinkets that sit around, OR could you give the gift of an experience? This goes for your kids, nieces, nephews, parents, etc. What if you gave the gift of doing something together and making memories instead of stuff?

Only Buy What You Need

Holiday sales are good; I know that. Yet, if January is your money hangover month, only buy what you need. Only buy for those you must. Only buy what is in your budget. Bring cash and your list to the store with you when you shop so you aren’t tempted to buy something on sale for someone you probably could give to work.

Know Your Why

Buying gifts for Christmas can become a habit we don’t even realize. Where we go and start buying gifts for so and so because we always have. Think about why you want to give that person a gift.

This will help when you are looking for a thoughtful gift. Knowing why you are spending money on someone helps define the dollar spent and the type of gift you want to give.

Tell Others What You Want or Don’t Want

When it comes to saving money during the holidays, you can help out your friends and family by sharing items you would really enjoy or need. Give them ideas and if you know they are in a more challenging situation, let them know you may want to have them over for dinner one night. Then, help others shop for you.

Check out our gift guides for more ideas below:

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Debbie Fox

Thursday 6th of December 2018

Helpful tips especially when finances are tight. I would love some suggestions for a gift idea when that unexpected " oh here I got you a little something " happens.


Friday 7th of December 2018

Hi Debbie! If someone gives you a gift and it was unexpected I think it is important to look at the relationship. Was there any motive behind it? I know in the past when I was working in an office setting a few of the co-workers would give out gifts to everyone and I felt terrible not having a gift to give back. Yet, the true meaning of the season of giving is to give without wanting something in return. No one really wants to receive a gift just because they gave someone a gift. They want the person to enjoy it. So sometimes it's okay to just accept the gift. If it is someone you really care deeply about and you just can't let it go to not get them a gift, don't put an expectation that you need to go out the next day and find something. Keep that person in mind and wait for the something you find to give them, or even make them something. Or when they need a text or phone call just to let them know you mean so much to them.

Janelle JB

Wednesday 5th of December 2018

Great advice!

Melissa Dunn

Wednesday 5th of December 2018

I agree πŸ’• my daughter is easy to shop for and she doesn't want the expensive stuff 😁 this year she only wanted one thing for Christmas she will get it and a few smaller things!!!

Nani Jones

Monday 3rd of December 2018

I agree it’s about making memories rather than giving expensive gifts.


Thursday 22nd of November 2018

Good advice, Tasia. If we could all make sure to remember this especially when we are in a hurry and stressed.

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