You Don’t Have to Go in Debt for the Holidays
According to a survey by MagnifyMoney.com, 1 in 4 Americans actually plan to go into debt for the holidays. These are probably just the people who are being honest with themselves. Think about the number of people who’ll not even acknowledge that they will take on debt to get through the holidays. We’ve had at least 5 debt free Christmases so far and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Not having to face a credit bill for the debt racked up during the holidays is one of the best gifts ever. Check out all the ways you can be merry without debt.
1) Create a Budget
This seems like a no-brainer, especially if you think you won’t spend money for Christmas. I do this almost every year. I promise myself that I won’t spend any money for Christmas. Then, I start feeling guilty about a week before Christmas and between last minute gifts and food, I spend anywhere from $400-$500 beyond what I intended. One year, I actually decided to give my dining room table a makeover. That added an extra $400 or so to my holiday budget that I didn’t even plan on spending. Determine how much money you want to spend and divvy it up best you can. Remember, holiday spending includes more than gifts. Think about food, decor, kids activities and extra gas money you’ll need for the additional festivities. Check out this video on how I create my Christmas budget.
2) Savings Tools
There are a few ways to save up for your holidays even if you are just getting started. Here are a few I recommend:
- Digit– Takes small amounts of money from a bank account your designate. I’ve had as much as $500 in my digit account. Sign up for your own Digit account and use your money to pay for Christmas!
- CapitalOne 360– Online savings account. I’m just a fan of online on savings accounts. You know the old saying, out of sight, out of mind.
- TipYourself.com– Works like Digit, but it’s not automatic. You make a conscious decision to reward yourself and add money to your digital “tip jar” which you have access to at any time. I use this app when I work out and dole out tips accordingly.
- Proactive Budget– This is the digital version of the envelope system. You can create a
Though you won’t get rich on surveys, I’ve definitely heard of people funding their Christmas budget with survey site like SwagBucks. You can make money by taking surveys and referring other people to the program. You can sign up for SwagBucks here to start taking surveys and get your own referral code.
4) Referral Programs
There are so many referral programs that pay you just for telling people about a company’s products or services. I refer people to sites and apps like Ibotta, eBates and Digit with payouts of $5 and up to $10. Ibotta & eBates are cool because you actually earn cash back on your purchases as well. The cash back plus the referral money can add up for a great Christmas with money to spare! Sign up for any of these money-saving services and then you’ll get a special code of your own to start earning referral fees: Ibotta, eBates and Digit.
This is not a bad time to pick up seasonal work, as there are many positions available working from home, or in retail environments or even warehouse facilities. In some retail environments, you could even get an employee discount! Other holiday-centric side hustles include cooking, gift-wrapping, being a personal assistant or babysitting at large get-togethers. With a little creativity, you there’s plenty you can find to do!
6) Giftless Christmas
If alas, you are in dire straights and just can’t afford to spend money you can opt for a “giftless” Christmas. (Hint: if you are in debt with little to no savings, YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO SPEND MONEY!) I actually did an entire blog post and video on the topic of having a “giftless” Christmas. It’s not as bad as it seems, in fact, we did a form of a giftless Christmas last year and I am looking forward to being creative for this Christmas.
Good, well-planned holidays come down to keeping a good budget. It’s more than ok to spend money during these time, but just remember to plan it out to keep everything in check! If you need more help creating and keeping a budget, enter your information below to access my free guide on budgeting: