This time of year is tough on a budget. Lots of extra spending on gifts can easily derail your budget and the next thing you know, you are in credit card debt. Now your new year is spent updating your budget so that you can get out of credit card debt as soon as possible. Luckily, there are ways to get through the gift giving this holiday season without going into debt. Below are 3 tips to help you, plus a bonus tip for you to start using in 2015.
3 Tips For Avoiding Debt This Holiday Season
Set Up A Secret Santa
You usually see this gift giving technique at work, but why not transfer it over to your friends and or family. Doing this will save you a ton of money, especially if you have a large family. On my wife’s side of the family, between siblings and cousins, we would have to buy close to 20 gifts! The cost associated with these gifts quickly adds up (and can get us into credit card debt very easily).
The solution is a Secret Santa. During Thanksgiving, the hat with names gets passed around. Then come Christmas Eve, everyone gets together again to exchange gifts. Not only is it a great way to save money, but it also is a great way to see everyone for the holidays.
Set Dollar Amounts
For my side of the family, there are only 3 siblings. But we are all married, so that doubles the amount of gifts. Plus, there are some nieces in the mix, so that is more gifts. To keep spending in line, we put a $25 limit on gifts. This helps us to buy for everyone while at the same time keeping tabs on our bottom line.
When setting a dollar amount, make sure to take into account everyone’s financial situation. You might be doing well financially and want a higher limit. But your brother might be fresh out of college, only working a part-time job. He is going to have a harder time than you meeting the spending limit.
Don’t Buy Gifts
This sounds a bit harsh, but there are some people that you don’t have to buy gifts for. I know there are a few distant aunts/uncles/cousins that we could easily cross of the list and no feelings would be hurt. In fact, when a distant cousin buys me a gift, I am surprised because I wasn’t expecting anything from them.
I understand that this is the season of giving, but in some cases, you can skip on the giving.
Bonus Tip For Next Year: Budget
After you are done spending for the holidays this year, sit down and total up how much you spent. Then take that number and divide it by 11. The number you are left with is the amount you will save every month for the next 11 months so that you have enough money for gift giving next year.
For example, if you spent $500 this year, divide that by 11 to get roughly $45. I you save $45 each month, you will have enough money to spend on gifts. You could divide the $500 by 44 if you want to save something each week or 22 if you want to save bi-monthly. It doesn’t matter the frequency, just as long as you save and put that money in a separate account so you aren’t tempted to spend it during the year.
In the end, you can get through the holidays without going into debt when it comes to gift giving. Simply use these tips to help keep your spending in check. In fact, there is a chance that others are thinking the same thing but just haven’t brought it up. You’ll end up doing everyone a favor by limiting the spending on gifts this holiday season.