If you celebrate Christmas, this is your public service announcement that it’s less than 100 days away…93 to be exact. Many of us always swear that we’re “going to start shopping early this year”, but that doesn’t always happen. So if you plan to buy gifts for your family and friends and haven’t started, start now. Here are some simple tips that will help ease the burden on your bank account.
1. If you have saved throughout the year for presents, great! Then use what you have saved to go shopping. If you’re like the average person and haven’t saved anything, then determine how much you can afford to spend. Look at your income and your monthly expenses and what’s left over is what you have to use toward gifts, but don’t forget about other random expenses that might come up, i.e. shoes, clothes, kids’ field trips, etc.
Try not to spend every last penny you have left over on gifts because something is sure to come up as soon as you spend all your money.
2. Only charge what you can afford to pay off right away. I love buying gifts for people, but I HATE paying for those gifts with interest &/or payments for months and months after the holidays.
3. If you don’t have much leftover money in your budget, be creative. There are tons of DIY ideas on the internet. Google DIY gifts or check out Pinterest if that’s your preferred method. And if you have a large family, think about playing the white elephant gift game, draw names, or only buy for the kids.
4. There’s still time to purge your clutter and sell items online or in a garage sale. Then use your earnings for your future purchases.
Holidays are about spending time with friends and family. So try to take some of the stress away by starting early, not spending as much, and more importantly avoiding future credit card payments for yourself.
Already have credit card debt? A Debt Management Plan can help. Call us at 888.577.2227 for an appointment or visit ConquerYourDebt.org to get started with your online counseling session. Take action today to conquer your debt!
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.