Have a Debt Free Christmas

Have a Debt Free Christmas

1926 12 25 - Christmas
Creative Commons License photo credit: thisisbossi
This holiday season is my 5th since becoming debt free. It hasn’t always been easy not to get caught up in the excitement and the chaos and spend more than I should this time of year. I would like to share some ideas for avoiding debt this Christmas.

  • Set a budget you can afford – it doesn’t matter if you use cash, debit or credit – the point is that you look at your means and decide what your family can afford and stick to it.
  • Prioritize – Look at what is important to you and what will really make this season joyful for you and your family and do those things. You can’t be everything to everyone, so just do what you can and enjoy it.
  • Get creative – from decorating to gift giving, wrapping, baking, and sending cards, think outside the box and see what you can make instead of buy. Remember the true spirit of the season isn’t found in a pile of receipts.
  • Turn off the TV! – I can’t tell you how frustrated I get at ads for stores that tell you to shop there because their stuff is so cheap, you can buy MORE stuff for under the tree!!
  • Keep it simple – don’t buy a bunch of plastic junk just so there is more stuff for your kids or grandkids to open. Give gifts that are special. We are not born to think that Christmas means being showered with too much junk. We learn it. Kids will think a few nice gifts are wonderful under a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree if that’s all they know and they feel the love from family. Love isn’t found or shown in wrapped boxes.
  • Here are some links for homemade and simple holiday ideas that will help you have a debt-free Christmas:

11 Ways to Wrap Gifts Without Wrapping Paper
DIY Wrap Up: 101 Gift Tags, Toppers and Wraps
A DIY Christmas: 34 Great Gifts You Can Make Yourself

This one is a good reminder about the expectations we teach and learn about Christmas:

Examining Expectations: You Are Not The Jones.

I hope you have a very merry, love-filled Christmas that doesn’t result in a stack of bills arriving in January. THAT sounds like a Merry Christmas to me.

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  1. Julia, it’s a great idea and we did that this year too. Not all year, but we started setting money aside each paycheck around July. It’s a great tip, that I’ll have to be sure to share in January. It’s a little late now if you haven’t done it yet :-)

  2. Hi Emily, great post.
    This year I’ve set my smallest ever budget for Christmas and it feels great. Also the joy of not using a credit card makes it even better!

  3. Hello everyone,

    A wonderful guide. Though I would like to debate 1 point.
    I think it is better to spend only Cash or through Debit cards.
    Spending through Credit cards really adds up to the problem.

    1. You end up spending more.
    2. You need to pay interest.

    I prefer cash, dont know about others.

  4. Kevin, I personally agree with you and only use cash or debit (don’t even have a credit card) but also know that there are people who can actually use credit wisely and it doesn’t automatically mean paying interest or adding to debt, unlike myself :)

  5. Emily,

    With due respect, I am yet to find someone who can use credit cards wisely. Needs a lot of discipline. This is what I have done. Maybe this can help others. I have around 20 credit cards. I thought of canceling them first, but I was suggested that it would not be good for my credit scores, so I cut all of them into half and kept them at a safe place. Now I really don’t need to be disciplined. :)

  6. in this times of economic recession, sometimes it is difficult to have a great credit score-’:

  7. always make your credit score higher so that you have a good credit:;:

  8. it is quite easy to get a good credit score specially if you know how to micromanage your finances :

  9. Contrary to popular belief — you don’t have to go in debt to make a purchase. Why do you need a good credit score if you make it a life habit to only make a purchase when you have the money in hand? Save first, buy later. It’s really very satisfying and while you’re saving for a specific goal — you might decide you didn’t need it after all or that a simpler model would be just as nice.

    Our last big purchase was a new minivan for the family – gently used, with leather seats and a DVD system. The staff at the dealership didn’t know how to complete the paperwork when we said we were paying for the vehicle & fees in full with $14,500 cash. It honestly took HOURS for them to figure it out. We seriously thought about taking out a loan and then paying it off the following week just so we could get out of there.

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