YOU can Prevent Christmas Debt
Christmas debt is a fact many Americans face. Around this time of year the words “We don’t have a money tree in our backyard” or “That costs way too much” are often heard in homes. Kids usually have a fast comeback “But, Mom, you don’t have to buy it, Santa brings it.” And then the trouble begins…..
So, what do you do to prevent Christmas debt?
• Use layaway for Christmas to pay for pricey items over time.
• Talk to your children about your financial problems and then tell them to list 10 items they really, really want for Christmas. Tell them that out of those 10 items, you will pick 2 (or 3) to surprise them with on Christmas.
• Explain that Christmas is not about presents and Santa Clause but about the birth of Jesus. Suggest that they work with you to perform some really good deeds for other people between now and Christmas. The happiness they see on other’s faces will help them to understand and appreciate the things they get on Christmas morning.
• Acquaint them with children from the shelters who do not have much and suggest that they could share some of their things with them.
• Make old fashioned ornaments for your tree and house with your children. String popcorn, cranberries, candy and make paper ornaments for your tree. Decorate the rooms with greenery, old decorations used in unique ways. Use cardboard to make a Christmas Village to put under your tree.
• If you have limited amounts to spend on family members use your cash for the children. Avoid Christmas debt by Gifting the adults with gifts of your time. You can do housework, run errands, babysit and give your loved one a “gift certificate” made by you that tells them what they are entitled to from you.
Saving money on Christmas and preventing christmas debt starts the year before on December 26th. Save money by going to the after Christmas sales armed with lists of people for whom you must give a Christmas gift each year. You will be able to get nice gifts for 50%-80% off the regular price. As the days go on, there might be less choice in the inventory at the stores but you can still get quality gifts for very little. Using the sales to buy your gifts, Christmas wrapping paper, ribbons, Christmas cards, tree ornaments, tree lights, outside decorations is more than a good idea, it is an excellent one. If you buy holiday candy or any other perishable item, wrap it securely and put it into the freezer so that it will last until next year.
If you are not going to see your family members until after Christmas, wait to purchase your gifts until the sales have started. No one will know you did not spend full price for the items you are giving. This is an excellent way to avoid Christmas debt.
One wonderful idea for a gift is a gift basket. On Dec 26th you can purchase Christmas baskets and other containers from arts and crafts stores at 50% off or more. Then you can purchase the clear wrapping sleeves and bubbles that are used to make gift baskets look professional. Purchase items to go into the basket at 50% or more off the regular price. Children love to get Christmas stockings filled with goodies. On Dec. 26th you can find great bargains on small stocking stuffer items. Stores normally reduce their inventory on this week so that they do not have to list the inventory on January 1st and pay takes on these items. You can wrap these little bargain items in the scraps of Christmas wrapping paper that you have laying around and avoid accumulating Christmas debt. The child getting the stocking filled with gifts will remember you as a star status giver and look forward to getting to your present first in the future.
You don’t have to wait until December 26th to start bargain shopping. If you look, you can find great bargains where you least expect them. Book stores often have sales on their games sections. You might find a game that is usually $20 on the sale table for just $4. Games are always good gifts for children of any age. Likewise, puzzles are great presents and can be found on sale at book stores and craft stores all through the year. Finding these great deals help reduce Christmas debt.
Try to stick to one really nice present for your children or your significant other and then look for sales throughout the year so that you can pick up bargains to put under the tree.
Places you can save on Christmas gifts and avoid Christmas debt
Best Buy is a great store for bargain hunters. They often put their television series DVD’s on sale throughout the year. Pick up a set of favorite shows for someone on your list. Music doesn’t go on sale often but when it does, stock up on the favorite singers of someone on your list. You can also find great series buys on DVD’s at Cracker Barrel at the end of each season.
If you have never been into a Dollar Store, you are in for a treat. You can find quality items for sale on the shelves every day. There are holiday items on display for every big holiday. You can also find great gifts for the yearly office party or the Chinese auction you participate in each holiday season. For children in the family you can purchase several coloring books, a box of crayons, a box of paints all for less than $5. There are socks and underwear, pet toys and dishes, hair care products and ornaments, small tools, dishware, glassware, pots and pans, toys, books, and much more for sale every day for only $1.
Have you always wanted to help out with food drives but don’t have a lot of money to buy canned goods to give away? Go to the Dollar Store where you will find the same labels that you find in your local grocery story but for only $1 an item. If you would like to make up a basket for a family in need, you can even find meat, milk, bread, and frozen foods to use in your gift of charity.
You can’t afford everything that everyone wants for presents on Christmas. Don’t over extend yourself by buying items you cannot afford just so that you can keep up appearances. This is how many people get into Christmas debt. Instead, be a Savvy Shopper all year ‘round. Save your money to purchase the more expensive gifts and stay out of Christmas debt.
You will be able to show your family that the holidays are about being with each other. It is the season of love and caring. There is great joy in being together and watching the traditional television programs that you have seen since you (or maybe your parents) were children. Celebrating the birth of Jesus with church services doesn’t cost anything but it extremely valuable to those raised in the church and Christian tradition.
Homemade gifts are an excellent way to avoid Christmas debt
The final tip about saving money and not going into Christmas debt is this: give gifts that you have made. Making copies of family photos and putting them together into an album is a wonderful gift for someone who has missed members of the family growing up or for older members who just want to remember those who have passed away. If you sew, make something special. Pillows, placemats, and table cloths are all wonderful presents to receive during the holidays and mean even more when someone has made them.