The remaining part of the year can put a strain on your finances, with the growing lists of gifts to buy, the travelling expenses to back home to meet with family, decoration expenses, planning the “perfect” holiday meals;
Not to mention the energy bills as a result all the extra activities during the holiday season . It is easy to go over the budget, get into credit card debt, and other loan debt with high interest rates.
This is the time when we need to be on top of our finances, It maybe a little late now, you can still avoid taking on more holiday debt by starting now.
Here are some tips on how to stay out of debt during the holiday season.
Once you calculate your potential spending for upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas season, create a budget for all your holiday expenses.
Create an overall holiday budget for everything from gifts to pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, drinks, to decorations and travel for this holiday season.
Create individual budgets for each expense category such as gifts for people on your list, decorations, food, drinks, and travel.
Once you have established a budget for Thanksgiving and Christmas season, make a list of all the people you intend to buy a gift for.
Set an amount you intend to spend on each person. Then set an amount for other expense categories, such as travel, decorations, food and drinks.
By making a list, you can avoid spending money on additional, unnecessary gifts and other items.
You cannot exceed the amount you set for your thanksgiving celebrations in your budget. Track your spending, you will be able to stick to your budget.
Every time you purchase a gift or anything related to holiday keep a note of it.
A survey done in North America last year, showed that people with student loans were most likely to spend higher amounts of money to celebrate christmas using credit cards to to finance their expenses.
One of the best ways to stay out of holiday debt is to save up for the season. If you have not already started saving money for the holidays.
Many online banks offer a high yield Savings Account with minimal fees, and monthly interest rates. Interest may be retracted if you withdrawal the funds before the given date.
The idea is to set up automatic deposit from your checking account every month to save for Christmas season.
Put away the maximum amount you can afford to save up all the money you will need for holiday shopping.
Cut back on unnecessary things to save money and put that cash toward holiday fund.
You can earn extra money online and offline and put some or all of it, depending on how much you make, toward your holiday fund.
Take advantage of sales, deals promoted by retailers. Plan your shopping around the major holiday weekends like when retailers offer discounts.
Make sure to check out different stores to know when and where you can snag the best holiday sales deals.
According to Synchrony bank’s annual holiday shopping study, carried out in 2016, many shoppers planned to start buying their presents earlier, because of long lists of presents to buy and to even out spending.
By shopping early, you can spread out the cost of shopping, save money because plenty of retailers often offer huge discounts several weeks before the holiday season rolls around.
When you shop early, you can avoid impulse purchases and things you do not need during the busy holiday shopping time.
Save money by shopping online. When shopping online, check out where you can find the gifts you want to buy at the cheapest price.
Take advantage of online coupons to save money on things that are on your shopping list.
Many online retailers offer great deals, offer a lower prices and free shipping. You can also save money on sales taxes and gas when you shop online. Here is a list of the major online retailers in the US.
You can only spend what you have when you carry cash. If you pay for things using one of your credit cards, make sure to pay it off in full on time to avoid high interest and late charges.
However, you may can spend more than you can afford when you use credit cards for holiday shopping.
Set aside bonus that you get every year at your work for holiday spending. Do not splurge that bonus and tax refunds. Use your work bonus and tax refunds to buy gifts.
Earn some extra money online or/and offline, you may be able to cover some or all the costs of your holiday budget. Check out my earlier post about side side job ideas.
There are many more ways that people can use to make extra money these days.
If you have skills in a particular area like writing, translating, transcription, data entry, graphic design, sales & marketing, managing social media accounts, etc.
Join a freelance site like Upwork, Freelancer, PeopleperHour. Bid for jobs that match your skills and make money every time you are hired by a client.
Do you have a knack for writing, make money by completing writing jobs for companies and people via many sites like iWriter.
Contact the people and companies directly, who have blogs/websites to see if you could get paid to write for them.
Work from Home Customer Service Representative Jobs –Many companies nowadays hire home-based people to work as customer service agents or representatives.
If you have excellent communication skills and a quiet room, a customer service job from home can be a great way to earn extra money.
Check out companies like American Express, Appen, Alorica, Convergys, etc. for customer service representative jobs.
Implementing the above tips will allow you to treat your loved ones and most of all allow you to sleep at night.
Pay with cash, you will think twice before parting with your money. You will not regret your spending, best of all, you will not have to pay high interest on debt come January/February.