With the holidays coming up, it’s important to think about what all the gift-giving, hosting, and cooking will cost you. Holiday season spending can get out of hand quickly, leaving many to look for a debt consolidation loan or 0% APR credit card to get a little breathing room while digging themselves out of debt. But just because it’s a gift-heavy time doesn’t mean you need to go into debt just to make your loved ones happy. Here are four ways you can stay debt-free while celebrating this festive time of year.
1. Create a budget specifically for gifts
Holiday shoppers can get into financial trouble when they don’t set a limit on their gift buying. Instead of getting caught in the overspending trap many fall into this season, allot a certain amount of money for gifts. You can set a limit for each recipient, for the entire list of people you’ll be buying gifts for, or a combination of both. Whichever method works best for you will depend on if you have recipients on your list that you’d like to spend a little more on (like children) or not.
2. Choose thoughtful gifts over expensive ones
The most important reason we come together during the holidays is to show our love and appreciation for one another. You can use your holiday gifts as a way to show how much you care without needing to spend too much. Friends and family love to receive gifts that are meaningful and sentimental; it truly is the thought that counts and not the amount of debt you acquire. A few ideas for thoughtful gifts include framed pictures of special moments or anniversaries, scrapbooks of your history together, handmade decor, and mementos that include their favorite movie quotes, book passages, or song lyrics.
3. Talk with your family about other gift exchange ideas
Many of us feel the pressure of getting the perfect gift for our loved ones because we think they’ll be putting in the same amount of effort and money. While it’s true that one-to-one gift exchanges are meant to be special, you might be surprised to know how stressed they may be by gift shopping, too. If you have a large group of loved ones who will each be buying for one another, suggest the possibility of doing a group gift exchange or buying gifts solely for the kids. When the pressure of buying multiple gifts on a tight budget is removed, you can focus on having fun and celebrating this wonderful time of year together.
4. Try thrift stores for holiday decor and gifts
Avoid the big box stores and head to your local thrift shop if you want to get into the holiday spirit with your home decor without going into debt. Thrift stores are full of Christmas decorations, lights, fake trees, candles, and other holiday items. You can also typically find clothing, media, and home goods that still have their original price tags, making them perfect for gifting. Also, if you’re heading to an Ugly Christmas Sweater party, there’s no better resource than a thrift store.
Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of feeling like debt is necessary to show how much you love your friends and family. They’ll be just as thrilled with any of the ideas mentioned above because they show how much you care. Who knows, your family might also be looking for a guide like this, so share it and discuss how you’d all like to celebrate Christmas in a financially-responsible way.