I know this may sound crazy, and you all don't want to hear about this word, Christmas! Listen is never too early to start planning and saving for Christmas and even though it is July, it is time to start thinking of a debt free Christmas this year!
Since taking on my finances, for the past few years, I have been making sure that every Christmas season we are financially ready to handle the holiday season.
To help you and myself, I decided to write this post in the middle of hot July to help us get prepared for the upcoming craziness that is the holiday season in this country!
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year, but Christmas can also be very hard financially to many families in the United States and other parts of the world. We seem to be influenced by society and overspend too much, or we are just not financially ready. It is possible to have a debt free Christmas, even if you do have debt. I believe you can have a financially stress-free Christmas without adding more debt.
We seem to be influenced by society and overspend too much on things we think will bring us joy! Or we are just not financially ready. It is possible to have a debt free Christmas, even if you do have debt. I believe you can have a financially stress-free Christmas without adding more debt.
We don't even get to enjoy a quiet Thanksgiving because we are sitting looking at our cell phones for the crazy deal that will be happening later in the evening!
And the truth is that we are just not financially ready. We are stressing over money during the holiday season that we don't have time to step back and enjoy the season for what is worth!
It is possible to have a debt free Christmas, even if you do have debt?
I believe you can have a financially stress-free Christmas without adding more debt.
During my many years in retail, I would encounter many people putting hundreds of dollars in lay-a-way (seriously, that much and even more), only to come back during lay-a-way pickup day to remove about 75%+ percent of their lay-a-way items because they just couldn't afford it.
I also witnessed customers who filled their carts up with tons of merchandise only to use their credit card, have their charge declined, and play the game of which credit card is not maxed yet.
This scenario happens to people of all income. Debt knows no income and, believe me, you can earn $100K, and if you don't know how to manage your finances, this will happen to you.
We go with the Christmas hype each year and we simply spend without thinking.
Be honest and think of a time you didn't pay at least one bill during the month of December to buy Christmas gifts during the season?
You might think that is just stupid, but many do.
While you might pass judgment on them, if you never did that, ask yourself if you use your charge card and went into debt to buy Christmas gifts?
You might have paid your bills, but you just added to your debt which is creating more stress for you. You are going to pay more money for the stuff you charged during the holiday season.
Before heading into the judgment zone, know that your financial situation is not the same as others. Your reasons to have debt is different from others.
Regardless of your financial situation, or even if your finances are in control, Christmas is stressful.
If you are thinking that this hasn't happened to me and can't relate, you are wrong! I am not here to judge you because I've done it all!
I didn't pay a bill to get Christmas gifts. I used charge cards and got into debt to buy gifts. Every year I dreaded Christmas and looked at the calendar to see which paycheck I was going to be able to use to go shop for Christmas gifts.
5 Secret To Enjoy A Debt Free Christmas
Planning for Christmas should be a year-round event. Do I know I'm talking crazy for suggesting this or even talking about Christmas in July?
I mean, for many of us, we will be dealing with the craziness that is back to school (BTS) season! I know this because I will be going through it too, but I believe that planning will help us be financially prepared for the upcoming holiday season.
This is why I'm here for, to help you and let you know that having money saved for Christmas is such a blessing.
Start planning your Christmas
Take a few minutes each day and with your family and start planning your Christmas. Many of you might have already done this, but really sit down and write everything down from where you are going, events, money, gifts, family.
Writing things down will put things into perspective and will give you a sense of reality about what is going to be happening during the holiday season.
Again, I know how hard the Christmas season can be for many of us. The Christmas season should be a time when you should be spending time celebrating the real meaning of Christmas with your family, not worrying about other things like your finances. You should also know that you shouldn't be paying for Christmas after Christmas is over.
One major thing I learned during the time I decided to take control of my finances was that my problem wasn't about money. Once you realize this, it seems like your eyes will really open. I hope that this July financial challenge helps you enjoy your holidays without financial stress.
Create a Christmas Budget
After you create your plans start creating a budget that will reflect it. Make sure you cover everything from gifts to food, even the cost of wrapping paper. Write down how much you are going to spend on each individual and stick to it!
Remember to make sure that you continue to look at your Christmas budget and change it if necessary.
Create Your Christmas Lists
I know it is too early but start an unofficial Christmas list to help you figure out how much you are going to need this Christmas. Look back at last year's shopping habits and lists and see how you can change and reduce it.
Did you buy way too many gifts on people? Did you have too many people on your list? Did you spend way too much money on holiday food?
Create a gift list and list for food you normally buy during the holiday season. If you love to bake then write that down and see how much you spent last year and what can you do to reduce the cost.
Start getting creative when it comes to saving money
You don't have to settle for one way to saving you money. If you haven't heard there are so many ways for us to start saving money that are even painless. Start using the ideas below and by the time Christmas comes around you will have a nice amount of money saved to help you financially!
Money saving apps
Money saving apps and rebates apps are excellent ways to earn free money nowadays. Ever visited a grocery store or even a Target and noticed people walking around looking at their smartphones? Chances are they are using apps to earn extra money and save money while shopping! Below is a list of apps that will make you money:
Start by creating a shopping list every time you go out and use coupons when possible. Coupons are still a great way to save money on basically anything! If you are interested in using coupons you can check them out by clicking here and here!
Use Discount Codes
There are just about discount codes available for anything this day. All you have to do is search for them and shop at the right time! Want to order takeout from a favorite restaurant, see if there's a code or subscribe to their mailing list to get one!
When you shopping online now until Christmas, always make sure you check for a discount code or coupon to save on your purchase. Anything is better than nothing and with back to school, Halloween and other events you can save money when you shop on some of this items.
Freeze your Spending
Let's face it, we love to spend our money! I know I do! To help us with this issue we go to on these challenges where we don't spend any of our money on things we don't need. We call it a No Spending Challenge and if we can survive a spending freeze, you can too!
Below are some of our favorite tips that help us during this no spending challenge:
- Avoid shopping for fun. I will go shopping when I need to go shopping. Shopping just because I’m bored or need to get out of the house is no excuse for spending money. If I have no reason to go to the store, then I will not.
- Do not go out shopping when you are hungry. Believe it or not, this seems to be one of my downfalls. I tend to go around the time when I am craving lunch. You know what happens when you are hungry and you are shopping; you overspend.
- Shop with a shopping list. This always helps me out and keeps me on track. My problem is that when I go shopping, I tend to forget the list. I finally got this app for my mobile phone that is helping me in this department.
- Create a menu plan. I’m a big fan of menu planning. I love creating them and using them. If you don’t have a menu plan, you are missing out on how much time and money you can save by creating them.
Find Ways To Make Extra Money
Sometimes we think that finding ways to earn extra cash means getting a part-time job and the truth is that's not true at all! There are tons of ways you and your family can make extra cash and when you start earning now you will have enough money for Christmas.
Of course, I won't be able to list all of them but below you will be able to get some ideas. Also, we have a list of resources to help you make money, over 150!
There are plenty of reasons you should login and start earning points with Ebates! Shop and get paid when you use shop through Ebates simple as that! Start using it now and start getting paid!
Another favorite of ours is My Points and quite honestly is so simple to earn points with this company and earn extra cash. When you click this link you get a $10 Amazon gift card on your first purchase. You can also shop stores like Groupon, eBay and more. You get Points for gift cards, award miles and more from over 75 top retail, restaurants, and travel partner.
A yard sale is a great way to get rid of stuff you don't need and earn extra cash in the process. Of course, to have a successful yard sale you have to make sure you take the time to plan it correctly. These yard sale mistakes might happen if you are not careful so please avoid them:
- Price your items
- Price to sell
- Make sure your items are sellable
With everything that I have mentioned above, it is possible to have a debt free Christmas this year. With dedication, hard work, and creativity you can enjoy this holiday season knowing that your finances will be OK.