Seeing the words debt free and Christmas together may bring mixed emotions. Perhaps you’ve dreamed of a debt free Christmas for years but have never been able to achieve it. Or, maybe you laugh at the idea because you’ve always charged your Christmas gifts!
If only for this year, I want to encourage you to have a debt free Christmas! Just think of the financial freedom you’ll have in January when the bills normally start rolling in!
Like anything else in life, if you choose to have a debt free Christmas, it is possible.
Here are a few tips that I recommend to have a debt free Christmas!
Decide What You Can Spend
Whether you have a little or a lot of money in the bank, the key to a debt free Christmas is deciding what you can spend. Look over your finances and figure out how much money you will have between now and Christmas.
Make A List
Once you’ve decided how much money you have to spend, make a list of each and every person you want/need to buy for (don’t forget gifts for teachers, co-workers, etc., and even add in a few dollars for the inevitable emergency gift).
Much like a budget, make your way down the list and place a dollar amount beside each name. When you’ve given each name a dollar amount, add up the list.
If the amount is more than you’ve decided to spend on gifts this year, it’s time to do some cutting. Perhaps you need to cut back on the amount you spend on certain people, or maybe this year you won’t be able to buy them a gift.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a lot easier to change the amount you’re going to spend on gifts than not buy a gift for someone. Discipline yourself and stick with the amount you originally decided to spend. If you get discouraged, remind yourself that this year you’re going to have a debt free Christmas! You can do this!
Give Homemade Gifts
The thought of giving homemade gifts may make you think of giving junk that people don’t want or use. On the contrary – homemade gifts are my favorite because the gift giver put thought and love into making the item!
Whether it be baked goods or something you’ve crafted yourself, there are tons of homemade gift ideas!
Stick To Your List
When you head out to do your shopping, take your list with you (and make sure it has dollar amounts). If you decided to spend $15 on your sister, stick to your original amount and only spend $15! (And don’t forget to factor in tax before you head to the checkout!) If you plan on spending $100 on each of your children, don’t forget to subtract a few dollars for stocking stuffers. Every penny counts and this is where the rubber meets the road!
Use Cash Back Sites and Coupon Codes for Online Shopping
If you plan on shopping online, there are tons of places to find coupon codes and to get cash back on your purchases. Using these sites only takes a few extra minutes and can definitely be worthwhile. I recommend (and use) Ebates and ShopAtHome.
No matter the amount you have to spend this Christmas, remind yourself that the gifts you did or don’t buy are not going to matter in 20 years. More than likely, when your children are adults, they won’t remember what gifts you gave them as children. Whether you have a little or a lot, choose joy this holiday season, and remember the true meaning of the holiday!