6 Tips to avoid holiday debt

The kids are back to school, fall decor is out, and football season is upon us! I spent my Labor Day weekend relaxing and preparing for it all. You know what else I did? I bought the first few items on my Christmas shopping list!

Yes, I’m super early but I know how hectic it can get when the holidays roll around. The kids bring their ever changing lists, each day at school has a theme, you have to sort through all of your decor and see what’s missing. I get it!

The holiday season brings a lot of feelings — joy, excitement, grief, loneliness, and stress to name a few. Whether negative or positive, that emotion can trickle into your finances during this time of year.

All too often I speak with people who want to pay off debt. After digging further into their situation it comes to light that a portion of credit card debt they carry is a result of Christmas past.

As a wife, mom, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend, my shopping list is pretty packed. I get it. I thoroughly enjoy getting “the” gift for each person on my list. Gifting is my love language, both receiving gifts and giving gifts. I understand the internal pressure it causes as well. Wanting to make your children happy or even one up your siblings to be front-runner as Mom’s favorite (I may or may not have tried this lol) can make you go above your means without realizing the lasting effects.

So yes, I can relate and understand wholeheartedly the struggle. But fortunately I also know some tips to serve as a remedy to keep you out of holiday debt and within your budget.

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The Christmas Sinking Fund

If you’ve followed me for a while you know I STAN sinking funds! A sinking fund is a savings fund allocated for an upcoming known expense or event. I set an amount each year for Christmas and save for 6 months, May-November, to cover my designated Christmas expenses. You can use it to cover gifts, activities, decor, and more! And there’s no limit on how early you can start. If it’s your first go I strongly suggest immediately after this Christmas while it’s still fresh in your mind.

Set Amounts for Each Person

Before you go shopping, list out who you’re buying for and how much you’re willing to spend on each person. There are a lot of kids we need to buy gifts for in our family. We set limits on how much we will spend on nieces and nephews. That helps eliminate the headache of what to get since we have a certain window to work with. 

Get Crafty

I am not a DIY person so this isn’t for me but if you like making things this would be a great option for you. Homemade gifts are awesome and budget friendly ways to participate in holiday giving. Having a personal touch can be very meaningful to the person receiving. It could also open an opportunity for you to tap into other talents. Side hustle maybe?

Limit What You Buy for Yourself

When I’m out Christmas shopping it usually goes one gift for someone and two gifts for me because treat yo’self. I’m the worst with this! And because I am, I can vow to take this tip on with you. Buying for yourself while holiday shopping can create you to go over your holiday budget and your personal budget. Can you take steps to reset? Sure, but it’s best to avoid it all together.

Don’t Treat Christmas Like An Emergency

What day was Christmas last year? And the year before that? And this year? So next year we can 100% expect it to be the same exact date. Crazy how that works and yet Black Friday sends us into a month-long spending frenzy. Say this like a mantra: Christmas is not an emergency. Besides, we don’t cover emergencies with credit cars, we use emergency funds, right? Right…

Every Sale Doesn’t Need You

Marketing is bombarding us several times a day. SALE! SALE! SALE! Even I’m guilty. I share my shoppable posts and let you know what’s on sale in case it was a sale you were looking for. But that doesn’t mean you absolutely have to buy it. There will always be a sale, especially during the holiday season. Only shop what you need.

There you have it! I hope those 6 tips help you during this season and you have happy holidays. For a budget template grab The Money & Momming Budget Worksheet.

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