Original article By Erin Huffstetler, Edited by Robert Weinberg
Tired of ringing in the new year with last year’s Christmas bills? Make this the year that you switch to a debt-free Christmas. Here’s how:
Set Your Budget
Kick off the holiday season with some Christmas music and a calculator. Before you buy anything, you need to figure out what you can afford to spend:
Start Saving Now
Don’t wait until December (or worse – January) to figure out how you’ll pay for Christmas. Start saving for it now. Open up a savings account, and contribute to it regularly.
Downsize Your List
Big gift lists tend to lead to big bills. Whittle yours down to the people who matter most. Then, send Christmas cards to everyone else.
Start Shopping Early
When you’re working with a tight deadline it’s easy to overspend. Start your Christmas shopping before the holiday decorations even go up, and you’ll have plenty of time to shop around for the best deals:
Look for Freebies
Giving someone a gift doesn’t have to mean buying them a gift. Keep an eye out for gift-worthy freebies, and you’ll start spotting free gifts everywhere:
Make the most of a tight budget by shopping at second-hand stores. You can find great gifts (including many new items) at a fraction of what you’d pay anywhere else:
Make Some of Your Gifts
Use your downtime to make gifts for the people on your list. It’s cost-effective and fun:
Want to buy it now, but pay for it later? Use layaway. It works just as well as a credit card, and there’s no interest.