Debt Free Christmas: The Best Present You Can Give Yourself

Holiday shopping is in full swing.  While Black Friday and Cyber Monday may be finished, retailers continue to bombard us with tempting holiday shopping deals right through to the New Year.   Canadians are expected to spend $674 on gift purchases this year, $100 more than last year.  Many unfortunately will take on more debt to pay for Christmas presents they would not consider buying at any other time.

Christmas is an emotional time of year, but even more so if you are already in debt.  The pressure to buy that expensive item for your spouse, your child or a close friend doesn’t go away just because you can’t really afford it.  Trying to balance gift giving with needing to make ends meet just leaves you feeling more guilty and stressed.

Help yourself keep on track for a debt free Christmas with these simple tips to resist the temptation to spend.

Debt Free Christmas: Temptatation Busters

  1. Target your store.  Don’t browse the shopping mall during the holidays.  If you don’t have a specific item in mind to purchase from a store, stay out of it.  Impulse shopping is one sure way to spend more than you planned.
  2. Target your item.   When you do shop, shop from your list.  Sit down ahead of time and decide what you can afford and what you will buy or spend on each person.  Keep this list with you every time you shop and look at it before you go through the checkout to make sure you have not veered off your debt free Christmas path.
  3. Ditch the flyers and ads.  OK this may seem strange since you should do comparison shopping to get the best deal right?  Yes, as long as the item is on your list.  But once you know what and where, don’t look at another flyer again.  Advertisers know what items to tempt you with closer to Christmas to encourage you to spend extra so don’t be lured.
  4. Unsubscribe:  If you have email you likely receive a constant barrage of ‘Daily Deal’ emails encouraging you with low price offers available for a limited period of time.  Buy an item online once from Amazon.ca and you can expect to start receiving emails of recommended purchases almost the next day.  Help yourself resist the urge by unsubscribing to these advertising emails.
  5. Ditch the credit cards:  If you are likely to be tempted to purchase something on impulse, bring only enough cash to the store to buy the gift you set out to get (remember item #2?).  Leave the credit cards at home when you head out to Christmas shop.  This will ensure you don’t take on new debt.

Resisting the temptation to overspend is difficult but can be done if you are serious about remaining debt free over Christmas.  Just follow these simple steps and celebrate the New Year debt free.

Category: Debt Solutions |

Nov 29, 2012

About Sharon Hoyes

Sharon Hoyes, CA, CPA is a Chartered Accountant and Managing Editor at MoneyProblems.ca writing about personal finance and consumer news and how it affects your debt.

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