Here’s how to avoid holiday debt.
For many, holiday debt is just part of the festive season. Along with leave days, decorating the tree and exchanging gifts with family and friends, a lot of consumers are also adding debt into their traditions. Long-standing debt can hurt family finances, and yet many people simply get caught up in the festive spirit or get lured by those one-time deals.
Unfortunately, people who take on debt over the holidays end up paying the price in the new year. This especially rings true for credit card users with higher rates. More debt also reduces your available credit, making future credit or loans harder to secure. This all had a negative effect on your credit score, which is never good.
Luckily, the holidays don’t have to end with a hangover of debt. Smart shopping, healthy budgeting and finding ways to bring in extra money can bring you into 2019 with no debt regrets.
Set a gifting budget
‘Tis the season of giving (and spending wisely!) Make a list of the gifts you’d like to buy for your family and friends. Next, calculate how much you can spend on each person. Once you’ve crunched the numbers then remember to stay on target and don’t exceed your budget.
Set up your holiday spending plan
This should include everything you plan to spend money on including travel, accommodation, social events and eating out. If the final number is bigger than your budget, then it’s time to start trimming back. Have a friend in the area? Cancel your hotel reservation and stay with friends. Cook a meal and save on that expensive restaurant bill. Once you start thinking out of the box, you’ll start seeing more savings!
Memories are priceless
Focus on gifting your loved ones with experiences, memories or quality time together. Make a scrapbook of memories and milestones, create a coupon book, pack a picnic and enjoy an afternoon at the park, or simply offer to babysit or watch a movie at home together.
If it's too good to be true, it probably is
Retailers use clever tactics to get consumers to buy into deals, and most of us fall for them every year. From inflating original prices to make sales seem more deeply discounted to offloading lower-quality products and pushing “one-time-only” offers, always be savvy when shopping for deals.