The holidays are an exciting, and stressful, time of the year. Between holiday parties, decorations, and gifts, the list of holiday expenses can quickly add up, and your spending can get out of control. On average, Americans with holiday debt, add nearly $1,000 to their overall debt, due to the holidays.
Unfortunately, going into debt to cover holiday expenses doesn’t end when the holidays do, and it can quickly snowball into more debt. It follows you into the new year, and payday loan debt can continue to follow you for months after.The easiest form of payday loan relief is avoiding payday loans in the first place. So, today, we’re sharing with you our tips for staying out of debt around the holidays.
Here’s How to Avoid Holiday Debt:
Walking into the grocery store without a plan is never a good idea. And neither is going into the Christmas season without one. Going into the holiday season without a plan almost always results in splurging on expensive gifts, overspending, and turning to debt to help cover what you can’t. Instead, plan ahead of time how much you’ll spend on gifts, decorations, and food. A plan will help you make sure you’re not overspending and that you also have all of your holiday expenses covered.
When planning ahead, think about who you’ll be buying gifts for and how much you’ll spend on each person. If you’ll be doing any traveling to see friends or family during the holidays, plan for those additional expenses. And don’t forget about the additional expenses that are often overlooked: decorations, hosting holiday meals, hostess gifts for holiday parties, giving, etc..
Stick to a budget
Before you do any shopping, make a budget. Decide how much you can and will spend overall. Then, break that down into smaller parts: gifts, decorations, travel, food. Shopping without a budget almost always leads to overspending and splurging on things you wouldn’t have otherwise. More important than making a budget, though, is actually sticking to it.
If you’re creating your first budget, use our guide to help!
Set aside money before the holidays
If you haven’t already starting saving, start now. After creating a budget and deciding how much you plan to spend, start setting aside money before the holidays. Saving money ahead of time will help you make sure you’ll have the money you need to cover holiday expenses without having to turn to payday loans or other quick cash solutions.
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Get crafty! Buying gifts, pre-packaged foods, and decorations from big box retailers almost always means you’ll pay more than you would if you made it yourself. You can save a ton of money on gifts by making them rather than buying them from a store. Pinterest is full of great gift ideas that are inexpensive and easy to make at home. Or put your hobbies to good use: sewing, hand-lettering, wood-working, painting, baking.
Making your own decorations can also save you a lot of money. It’s also a great opportunity to get the entire family involved and have some fun! Buy clear, glass ornaments and decorate them yourself. Find items that are already around your house and add some inexpensive red and green to make them more festive. Have the kids paint some signs or hand-letter some pieces yourself. Homemade decorations not only save you a ton of money, but they’re far more meaningful than store-bought ones.
Shop the sales
Most stores offer great deals and discounts throughout the holiday season. Make the most of these opportunities. If you plan ahead and know exactly how much you’re spending and what you’re looking to buy, shopping the sales is easy.
Keep in mind that Black Friday doesn’t always offer the biggest bang for your buck. Be smart, shop around, and find the best deals. A word of caution though: if you go into the sales without a plan in place, it can be easy to overspend and buy more than you were planning to buy. Everyone loves a good deal, and sometimes we get so caught up in the great deal that we spend more than we originally planned to. So, shop the sales, but have a plan in place before you do!
Skip the non-essentials
Easier said than done around the holidays. There’s the temptation to “go all out”. People end up with not one, but two or three Christmas trees. Rather than using the more affordable wrapping paper, you end up with the most festive (and most expensive) wrapping paper, ribbon, bells, and colored tape. It’s easy to overdo it when it comes to gifts, as well, and it gets tougher and tougher to avoid Holiday debt.
You can skip the non-essentials and save a ton of money, while still having a great and festive holiday season. Skip the excessive gift wrapping and unnecessary holiday decorations. Celebrate with a delicious meal without overdoing it with dozens of different dishes and casseroles. And give less gifts with more meaning. Your kids can only play with so many toys at once. So, rather than buying them twenty different toys, maybe you cap it at ten this year.
During a time of the year when we’re focused on excess (too much food, too many gifts, and spending far too much money), instead focus on what’s essential and make the most of that. Your wallet, and your finances, will thank you.
It’s easy to turn to debt to cover all of those holiday expenses. After all, the average American ends the holiday season with an additional $1,000 in debt. But turning to payday loan debt to help cover your holiday expenses isn’t just a short-term fix. Payday loans lead to a cycle of debt that happens with every 4 out of 5 payday loans borrowed. It’s a cycle far too many know all too well. This year, use these helpful tips to plan ahead and avoid holiday debt.
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