5 Ways to Celebrate a Debt-Free Holiday

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It’s Thanksgiving once again and you know what that means: the holidays are here! Cue the music, turn on the twinkle lights and deck the halls of your home with love and warmth. Many begin their holiday shopping on Black Friday to try to get all of the best deals of the year. The season of giving is here and it’s easy to get carried away buying gifts for everyone from your partner to your new next door neighbor.

Fast forward to mid-January. Checking your mail you see an envelope containing your credit card bill. Taking a deep breath, you open it just enough to peek at the balance. A sudden nauseating feeling overtakes you when you realize you have maxed out your credit.

There are ways to avoid heading down this path:

1. Plan a Holiday Budget

Create a detailed list of the special people in your life and set a price limit for each. Christmas in July sounds crazy to many, but planning ahead and shopping throughout the year will help you catch sought after items on sale. Heading into December with your shopping complete will be well worth the effort. You may even be able to budget for an additional gift or two when the excitement of the holiday season sets in!

2. Set Aside a Stash of Cash

Create a side savings account that automatically withdraws a designated amount of money out of your paycheck. Whatever you do, do not tempt yourself to take money out of the account until December. You can talk to your bank about setting one up, or utilize sites like smartypig.com.

3. Black Friday Deals

Black Friday is not just one day anymore. Deals typically run all weekend with Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Hunt down the best bang for your buck and take advantage of it. Avoid long lines at the mall and enjoy shopping on your computer or smartphone from the comfort of your couch.

4. Get Creative!

Putting your time and love into a homemade gift is more sentimental than buying something from the store. Best of all, it’s a money saver. Think baked goods, soaps and candles.

5. Head to the Back of the Store

It’s perfectly fine to shop the clearance section! Why not start there before looking at anything else in the store? Finding a toy, book or sweater for 75% off is a great find. Make a rule of thumb to never purchase anything at full price.

Before you get swept off of your feet by the season, take these tips into consideration. You will be happier focusing on your loved ones than your coins. Best of all, you will wake up to a guilt free new year.

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Brent Vullings