7 Tips to Avoid Holiday Debt

The Christmas holiday season is upon us again. For many, the holiday debt from last year’s shopping has only just been repaid, if at all. We have seen the madness on the media of ordinary folk who have temporarily been transformed into frenzied shoppers, battling each other for that great deal. I would suggest that all this does not represent the true meaning and spirit of the season, but that is a topic for another day.

I would like to share 7 tips which may assist you in avoiding or at least reducing your holiday debt:

1. Create a list of family and friends for whom you wish to purchase a gift, and stick to it. You would be surprised how many add to their list, and for poor reason.

2. Establish a holiday shopping budget, and stick to it. This budget should be based on two factors: your financial means and your gift list. One of the most common pitfalls in holiday shopping is spending more that you planned, because you found great “deals”.

3. Don’t spend more than necessary just because you had some credit limit remaining on your card. This reasoning places you in the ‘less than smart’ category. Remember, that debt carries interest which can greatly increase the overall cost of your shopping.

4. On average, a keen shopper can purchase a dozen nice gifts for as little as $300. Of course there is often that special gift which deserves proper attention.

5. As with debt in general, don’t feel obligated to keep up with the Jones’s. They may have the financial means OR they may have crippling debt.

6. Shopping for children has become a major issue. Gone are the days when a $20 doll or a $30 go-bot was the norm. Now, a $500 electronic gadget is often considered necessary, usually due to peer pressure. This is unfortunate because many make these purchases using credit, knowing full well that they really can’t afford it. I can only recommend common sense on this one.

7. Do your shopping early. This allows you to enjoy the experience since the malls and stores aren’t as busy. Also, you will have greater selection and be less pressured to purchase the first items that you find.

I hope that these tips help you to control your holiday debt and enjoy the season. There’s no need to be a Grinch, but no need to be bankrupt either.

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