9 ways to stay out of debt this Christmas

Co-author: Regina Collins 

A stocking full of debt is not something anyone wants to be left with after Christmas! We look at how you can hopefully stay out of debt this Christmas.

The truth is, Christmas is the biggest spending time of the year and there’s constant pressure to spend more than you can afford.

It is possible to avoid the urge to spend big though if you use part ingenuity, part determination.

First of all, address your own insecurities! Realise there will always be people who spend far more than you do and that is it foolish to even think you can put yourself out there at the same financial level. There are still plenty of ways to have a lovely Christmas break without overdoing it.

We buy, spend, eat and drink a lot more than we need or should over the Christmas season. It’s surprisingly easy to cut down on all these expenses if you don’t want to blow the budget. For example, use the decorations from last year or make your own instead of buying new ones, and think twice about the food and drinks you really need – why not even try making your own?

There are many things we can do to stop the Christmas hangover these holidays, and some of these include:

1. Set Christmas spending expectations for your kids

A child’s Christmas wish list can go on forever – they have pretty good imaginations! So educate your children from the start that Christmas is not only about presents. Make them understand that most kids do not have the things they have, and it’s important to spend time with family and friends.

Combine practical gifts with the more expensive ones they are desperately wanting, and explain that sometimes the greatest gifts come in the tiniest packages. Sometimes one really nice gift is worth a lot more than a dozen little gifts.

If you don’t want to go down the path of clichés, then simply set them a dollar limit. Do it early – in November – and they can have hours of fun (and angst) pricing potential gifts and working out how to allocate those precious dollars for the best effect.

2. Buy the necessary stuff first

If you have Christmas-related costs that are not negotiable (an accommodation booking, for example, or Christmas food you’ve promised to make), buy them before you spend your money on anything else. That way you can cut back on the “extras” if you need to.

Obviously, you’ll need to buy things like gifts and food for your Christmas day meals, but maybe give the flashy drinks and decorations a miss this year? You can always make your own, especially if you’ve got kids with a knack for arts and craft.

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