Overspending is an all too common pitfall for many households at Christmas. Keep in mind, one day of present exchanges is in no way worth a year of debt and stress to pay for it. The greatest gift one can give is love and friendship, but when tangible presents are necessary, follow these steps to avoid financial ruin.
- Shop smart and start early. Take advantage of pre-holiday sales and comparison shop.
- Don't rush! When you are in a hurry you are far more likely to impulse buy and overspend. Also, if you can, shop early in the day during the week to avoid crowds which can induce stress and in turn increase spending.
- Take a set amount of cash and leave the checkbook and credit cards at home. Once the cash is gone, you are done!
- Online or catalog shopping is best! You are less likely to impulse buy.
- Load up on seasonal grocery bargains. Baking supplies, for example, are often on sale during the holidays.
- Shop after the holidays for next year's decorations and cards.
- If you are traveling, make arrangements in as far in advance as possible to get the best rates. Also, booking flights on Tuesdayn mornings is often when you will find the best deals!
- Ship early. You'll avoid the rush rates. If you're catalog shopping, read the fine print on the order form as shipping fees can vary widely.
- Send free e-greeting cards. These colorful Internet messages cost you nothing.
So, have a Merry Christmas, and if you take heed to our advice, a debt free New Year!