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11 Financial Mistakes To Avoid This Holiday Season

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Ready to learn what 11 financial mistakes to avoid this holiday season? Good because I know you are going to learn what they are and kick some financial butt this holiday season.

Love it or hate it, the holiday season is coming or depending on when you are reading this post, it's here!

Many people dread the financial setbacks the Christmas season imposes on them each year.

But let’s be honest and say, it doesn’t have to be this way at all.

Let’s face reality and the fact that the holiday season is one of the biggest shopping seasons of the year.

We love to shop; we like to spend money.

We love to celebrate our Christmases BIG!

During this time of the year, we get ourselves into a financial mess and forget what is important.

As many times as I wrote about this topic, Christmas is one of the top reasons people get into a financial mess.

We become these buying robots around this time of the year. We buy for the moment and forget about the future.

With these financial mistakes to avoid this holiday season, you will be able to reduce your financial stress for not only this season but for future ones as well.

11 Financial Mistakes To Avoid This Holiday Season

Not having a budget

If you never used a budget for your personal finances, then I am going to say that chances are that you are going to fail miserably when it comes to keeping track of your money during the holiday season.

How much are you going to spend?

How much money are you going to need?

Most importantly, what are you going to be able to afford?

Shopping without a budget this Christmas is one of the top mistakes consumers do. Implementing a budget is the first thing everyone should do when planning on going to shop this holiday season.

Not budgeting Christmas at all

If you do a budget every month then you probably are guilty of this; not budgeting for Christmas.

We are not perfect, and honestly, this is a mistake that I did numerous times many years ago.

I never budgeted for Christmas. I knew Christmas was coming. I knew that it drained me financially, but I never did. The reason why was because I would usually do the following:

  • Not pay a bill or bills in December to purchase Christmas gifts.
  • Shop for Christmas and use a credit card.

It took some time to realize that if I budgeted Christmas in January, I would be able to avoid these mistakes and have a debt and stress-free Christmas.

Not having a plan

If you don’t sit down and plan your holidays, you are going to overspend your hard-earned money.

Planning your spending, your shopping, even your entire holiday if necessary, will help you save money and keep yourself on track this holiday season.

Having unrealistic expectations

Let’s face it, we do have unrealistic expectations of Christmas, and this happens to us every holiday season.

We see the advertisements; we watch movies, we see these expectations of what Christmas “should” be or feel like.

When we do this to ourselves is when you need to take a step back and keep it real.

No, you are not going to get a brand new car with a red bow on the top. No, I am not getting a dream vacation package for Christmas.

Be realistic with gifts and your expectations, Christmas is not just about presents.

Maybe stop and think that perhaps we should all count our blessings and only buy what we can afford. Get real and put those unrealistic expectations out of the way before the holiday season even approaches.

Emotionally shopping will ruin your finances

I am an emotional spender. I know this. I buy when I’m upset. I buy when I am feeling guilty. I spend my money because I think it will make me, or others, feel better.

Here’s the reality; money does NOT equal love.

Feeling guilty because you couldn’t afford to purchase everything your family wanted may lead to overspending.

How? Below is an example:

I couldn’t afford to buy my son the latest iPhone, so instead, I bought him hundreds of dollars worth of stuff to compensate.

Even though I can’t afford the $1,000 iPhone at least, I gave him other stuff even though I couldn't afford it.

These type of samples happens every day. If you can’t afford $100 why even bother spending moreover that amount in the first place?

The guilt needs to stop, but that’s another topic.

Don’t promise your kids or family what you can’t afford.

You don’t have to buy for someone because they gave you a gift. If they get mad because you didn’t give back a gift, maybe you need to question your relationship.

Again, you don’t have to buy gifts for everyone if you can’t afford it. You shouldn’t be made to feel guilty that you didn’t give someone a gift back because they gave you a gift.

If you have the urge to shop, my suggestion is to sleep over it. YES, go to bed.

When I am emotional, and I have the urge to spend, I just wait 24 hours. This has helped me over the years, and I do the same thing on the holidays. I don’t buy on impulse, I just go to sleep wake up the next day, and the urge to spend goes down.

Not checking your Christmas list twice

Again, if you can’t afford to buy for everyone on your list, trim it. If you see that the items on your list are too much for you financially, cut your list.

If you were in a hurry when writing this list, chances are you made a few mistakes on your list. Double, triple, check that list of yours to prevent you from overspending.

Check out this Christmas posts:

Not being organized

If you shop, spend and don’t keep track of your spending, you are going to be in trouble. Keep your receipts and place them in an envelope while you shop.

You might need those receipts for rebates and such. Not being organized will affect your finances.

Not taking advantage of sales

Sales are the reason people shop the holiday season. It's how retailers get us to shop in their stores.

If you don’t take advantage of sales and free shipping, you are going to do some damage to your finances. Who doesn’t want to save money?

Not taking advantage of rewards and rebates

Many stores offer rewards either in the form of club cards or store cards. Use money-earning apps such as:

With your store rewards to save more money.

Opening store credit cards for discounts.

One of my personal rules about credit cards is this: if you have a financial mess, put them away! Don’t use them.

If you have credit card debt and don’t have the discipline to use them and pay them off right away, then you should not use them.

Yes, I now that saving is essential during this time of the year. But if you don’t have the funds to pay this entirely at the end of the month, you are going to end up paying way more than what you saved.

This is a mistake I see happening with consumers during the holiday season. I know this because I was a retail manager and my job was to sell you credit cards.

I will push these credit card sign-ups with all my cashiers. The stores get bonuses for approved accounts, and sometimes even if customers don't get accepted for a store credit card.

The point is this, don’t fall into this trap. If you don’t have the money to pay this credit card in full, then don’t bother opening a credit card just for the discount. You will end up paying more than the 20% you saved in the long run.

Wait for the last minute

There are tons of people that procrastinate and wait until the last minute to go shopping during the holiday season.

When you do this, you are spending way too much money on things that were on sale, and you are now paying full price for it.

Granted, you get to see more sales depending on how sales are doing during the Christmas season, but you are not getting rock bottom prices.

You will find deals on items the stores want to get rid of. You are also missing on free shipping. If you are leaving things for last, chances are you didn’t plan your trip and will overspend your money

Also, you are just buying to buy, and the chances are that the items you were looking for are out of stock.

You will also spend gas driving around looking for items that if you bought earlier might have been available in many places including online.


During the holiday season, we overspend money and get into debt because we love to shop, we feel guilty, and we are confused about what exactly we are celebrating.

We have our unrealistic expectations of what the holiday season is about, and this gets us in financial trouble.

With these 11 tips, you will be able to keep track of your spending and enjoy your holiday not worrying about your finances, but what it's important.

What other mistake do you avoid during the holiday season?

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