Debt-proofing your holiday

I know everyone’s excited about Christmas coming up (me too!!!) but don’t forget that with spending money on others (and yourself πŸ˜‰ ) for Christmas also means making a budget and making sure you don’t blow it for one day (much like a wedding actually..) and you’re not paying the interest on something you couldn’t afford to give at Christmas time.

So.. here are some tips!

Get Organized, Make a List and Check it Twice

Make a list, and plan for what you want to buy.
Figure out the following:
A) Who you want to buy for (ideally)
B) How much you want to spend this Christmas
C) Other Christmas-y things you need to buy like holiday meals, holiday cards, stamps to send it all out, decorations, replacement bulbs, whatever.

Then, allocate the cash (immediate family and close friends get more, others get cards), and you have a list of what you want to buy, how much you want to spend, and how many cards you need to purchase and write.

A lot of planners say you shouldn’t spend more than 1.5% of your annual income on gifts. ALL gifts. All year. Not just Christmas. That includes birthdays, anniversaries, so be mindful that you don’t blow your income to show off…


Think about other gifts

Honestly, you can only get so many candles and socks. Think about making art for someone, baking cookies and wrapping it thoughtfully with a well written card (something that you can buy in a store, but you actually write a REAL personal message inside instead of signing your name to what Hallmark wrote). I find that specially written greeting card more personable and wonderful than getting a fantastic gift with a standard greeting card….

Think about donating to a charity in someone’s name (a real one please!), but if you aren’t into donating in someone’s name, try offering a favor. Maybe they would like you to create vouchers for things you can help them out with such as cleaning their gutters, cleaning their house, baking them a meal.. anything you think might be helpful or useful for them.

You can even consider giving classes, courses and special experiences as gifts. Gifts don’t have to be actual items with a pricetag. Maybe you can offer your services (if you know a program really well or something), to teach them how to use it. Or even to fix their computers, or take all of their photos and organize them in a special way in photo albums with labels, or in a scrapbook.

Think about ways to help enrich their lives, instead of just giving the standard candle and pair of socks. It takes more time to think about what is special and meaningful to a person than it is to buy something expensive in a store, and the effort will show.

Or you can even help them create a budget and help them figure out how to balance their chequebooks with a system of sorts.. or help them sort through their papers and organize them into file folders (I LOVE doing that so it’s a win-win situation for my friends and I)… πŸ™‚

If you’re gonna use a card, use a good one

Pick one with rewards on it so you get something (like points) out of it to use, while you’re shopping. Just don’t forget to clear the balance!!

Anyone else have any other tips or ideas? πŸ™‚

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.