By the time January rolls around, people just simply expect to get those hefty credit card bills. It’s so commonplace that it’s almost a part of the holiday season itself. But it doesn’t have to be. Avoiding excessive holiday debt is possible if you plan properly and spend carefully. The trick is to make sure you follow your own rules to ensure you’re as debt-free as possible in 2019.
8 Tips for Avoiding Excessive Holiday Debt
Just to get you started on the right path for the holiday season, here are a few tips from Georgia Heritage.
- Set a holiday gift budget that you can easily afford, and then stick to it by tracking your spending as you buy.
- Make a list of all gift recipients and allocate your budget for each accordingly.
- Plan the way you’ll pay – cash or credit. If you choose to use cash, start setting aside savings for your spending now. If you use credit, make a repayment plan to avoid carrying unnecessary debt into next year. Avoid using both, as your expenses will become harder to track and possibly spiral out of control.
- Get creative and give meaningful gifts instead of pricey ones. A handmade gift can sometimes mean a lot more than one that was purchased from a retailer.
- If you need a new source of funds for the holidays, consider a seasonal job or suspending certain luxuries for a couple months, such as subscription services, dining out, and weekend activities.
- Take advantage of sales and digital coupons when shopping for gifts.
- When you’re grocery shopping, remember that not every product has to be top-of-the-line. Many well-known brands are more expensive simply for their name. Consider store brands, which are sometimes better, for basic ingredients for your holiday meals, such as the spices and vegetables. Save the more expensive purchases for the main element of each dish, such as the turkey itself.
- If you’re still sending holiday cards by the mail and really love the tradition, by all means, go for it! But skipping that part and opting for digital greeting cards will save you both time and money.
Start Saving for 2019 Today
Want to start saving now for next year? Open a Christmas Club account and save a little from each paycheck all through 2019 via payroll deduction. Then by the time the next shopping season rolls around, you can jingle all the way to the registers and finish your shopping early! To get started today, visit gaheritagefcu.org.