Cheers to a debt free Christmas

Cheers to a debt free Christmas

There are now 7 weeks until Christmas. This time of year comes with a lot of pressure and expectation.  Christmas marketing is in full swing, and we want to provide for our family.

We see lots of heavily marketed Sales which encourage us to spend up big.  This is fine if Christmas gift-giving fits into your budget, however too often it doesn’t.  The quick solution for many households is to reach for a credit card or use Buy-Now-Pay-Later.  These are bad ideas, and you’ll feel the debt hangover in January.

Here’s how to create a wonderful Christmas when finances are tight.

[1] Zero Debt

Making financial progress in 2023 means reducing debt, not adding to it. Now is the time to draw a line in the sand.  Make the commitment that Christmas gift-giving will not result in even one more dollar of debt.  Use cash, not credit cards, or Buy-Now-Pay-Later.

[2] Make a list and check it twice

This means having a game plan for Christmas. There can be a lot of pressure to exchange gifts with a wide range of relatives, friends, and colleagues.  Being generous is great, so long as it doesn’t create more debt or impact your goals.

Make a list of who you are buying for this Christmas.  Start with those closest to you and then work outwards.  When you hit your dollar limit (see the next tip) then STOP!  Everyone else on the list will have to be content to receive your season’s greetings instead of a gift.

[3] Set a limit

By setting a dollar limit for Christmas gifts you’ll enjoy freedom from worry now and avoid the credit card blues in January.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but we all know the benefits of setting boundaries.

Set an overall limit that fits your financial situation and goals. Then allocate that limit across the people on your list.  Those closest to you are likely to receive the lion’s share of the allocation but you are in control of how it is distributed.  Purchase meaningful gifts that they would truly value, rather than shiny stocking fillers.

[4] Free family activities

The memory of a great family experience will live on long after the latest gadget, or must-have toy, has disappeared.  Grab a football, a cricket bat, a frisbee, a blanket, some snacks from the pantry, and head to the local park for the afternoon.  Or pull out a board or card game and gather the family around the kitchen table.  These free activities are actually priceless.

Check out the local newspaper to find the free community activities.  This could include going along to Carols by Candlelight, going to see Christmas lights in your area, or free concerts and movie nights.

Finally, look for volunteering opportunities where you can give back to your community.  It’s wonderful to serve others who need help, or just some company, at this time of year.

[5] Ask for help

If your situation is really tough this year, please know that you don’t have to go through it alone.  There are wonderful community organisations who can help with Christmas hampers, free grocery items, and even provide gifts for kids.

Don’t be too proud to seek assistance.  But do reach out for help early, as the demand for support is often high, and it helps these community groups to plan more effectively if they know how many are in need, as early as possible.  More than anything else, talking with someone who understands, and can inject some hope into your Christmas season, feels amazing.

Whether you follow this 5-step approach for a great Christmas or have your own method, it pays to have a plan and stick to it.

If you’ve already budgeted carefully for Christmas gift-giving, then enjoy the guilt-free spending.  But if this isn’t your situation now, you can turn it around in 2023 and start to win with money.

Being intentional with your actions and planning is the key.  When you shift and improve your decisions, you begin to change everything.

Here’s to a Merry Christmas without the debt hangover.

Make 2023 your year to Get Ahead. DM me to talk.

“Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.”
P.T. Barnum
American author