How to enjoy Christmas without going broke

Can you believe it’s already the end of October? That means we’re less than 3 months from Christmas and what does that mean? Christmas shopping! Have you created your shopping list yet? Do you have a plan for how much money you will spend? The most important thing you should consider when preparing for Christmas is making sure that you don’t go in debt trying to make others happy for the Holidays. Gifts are nice but family and fun is much better. It’s important that you create a strict Christmas gift giving list. Talk about Christmas as a family and what it really means. Don’t forget the true reason for the season.

According to an article on Investopedia a study performed by the National Retail Federation, Americans were projected to spend more money on gifts in 2018 than they did at any other time. According to a Gallup study, American adults expected to spend approximately $885 on gifts per person last year (2019 projections and updated 2018 numbers were not available at time of publication). Below are some of the findings:
• 33% expected to spend at least $1000 on gifts.
• 22% expected to spend between $500 and $999.
• 29% expected gift spending to be between $100 and $499.
• 3% planned to spend less than $100.

That may not seem like a lot but if you’re already having a difficult time paying your bills on time or you’re one check away from bankruptcy, this could take you into a world-wind. These costs could lead a family into downward spiral for quite some time. Be wise in your Holiday spending, be creative and be clear about what’s really important.

CHECK OUT WAYS TO ENJOY CHRISTMAS WITHOUT GOING BROKE. HERE ARE A FEW TIPS;

SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Spending time with family can bring back lots of wonderful memories. It’s a time to laugh, play games, look at old photos and reminisce on the good ole days. Watching old movies and drinking hot co-co tend to bring families closer. Spending quality time with family and friends builds a connection among those you haven’t seen in a while. It builds self-esteem, relieves stress and creates bonds.

HAND MAKE GIFTS

It may sound ridiculous to hand make Christmas gifts but actually, quite often these are the most appreciated gifts. A person who is appreciative has learned this behavior. Therefore children are taught to want expensive gifts. They are also taught to appreciate the small things. So it doesn’t matter what you give them if it’s created from the heart. Scrapbooks also make great memorable collections. There are lots of ideas on pinterest. Look in your closet for used items; bags, shirts or small trinkets. These types of items can be recycled into wall décor, gift baskets or a love token.

CREATE A CHRISTMAS BUDGET AND STICK TO IT

Before you accept a list from loved ones, create a budget. Your ability to purchase gifts should not be built around what your family and friends want for Christmas. Your list should be build around what you can afford and what you desire to purchase. Look at your current income on a weekly and monthly basis and determine what you can save from each paycheck over the next few months. Then calculate what you spend on mandatory expenses each month (such as utility bills, childcare etc). After you have determined your expenses, look at how much you typically spend on extra-curriculum and create a list of items that can be eliminated temporarily (such as Starbucks or going to the hairdresser). If you were creating a budget for long term goals, I would help you to create a list of items that can be eliminated permanently in order to reach those goals. If you work for a corporation that gives end of year bonuses, that’s a great way to keep from using your paycheck to purchase gifts.

PICK UP A SIDE HUSTLE OF PART-TIME JOB

There are a ton of companies that hire during the Holiday season. Retail stores are a great way to gang up on Christmas gifts at a discounted rate. Most retail stores offer they’re employees an employee discount. But don’t stop there, retail isn’t the only way to make money. You can drive Uber or Lyft, sell Avon or try an online hustle, such as freelance writing or at-home online call-center opportunities.

SHOP FOR DEALS

As you shop for deals, make sure it’s really a deal and beware of black Friday. These “deals” aren’t always deals. They’re a way to get you into the store so you’re enticed to purchase other items. If you’re aware of what you want to buy then you can start researching prices now. If you have more than one child, instead of purchasing gifts for each of them, think about purchasing one large gift that the entire family can enjoy (such as a foosball table, board games or a trampoline).

A quick way to check for deals if you are actually in a store is to use a free downloadable QR barcode scan app on your phone. Once you find an item in a store, scan the barcode using the app. The app will let you know of other places that have the same item and the price. Therefore, you can either buy the item in that store or in the store suggested on the app.

JUST SAY NO!

It’s okay to say, NO to;

1. Buying Christmas gifts this year
2. Buying more than 1 gift per person
3. Spending more than the budget
4. Using credit cards
5. Withdrawing money from the bank accounts
6. Borrowing money
7. Loaning money

For the most part, plan for the long term and not for just one day or one season. Is it really worth going broke? Plan as if you have a lifetime to live and a lifetime to enjoy the people the love. There will be many more Holidays. Always, remember the reason for the season.

Remember the Reason for the Season

LaTanya Blackmon,CPLC

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