How to avoid holiday debt from holiday spending

Holiday spending shouldn’t lead to holiday debt.

I admit it, I absolutely love shopping on Amazon, no matter the day – or occasion!

With the holidays fast approaching (by the way, where did 2021 go?!), now is when we start seeing holiday deals and shopping specials dance across our screens.

It’s hard not to overspend at the holidays, right?

Yes, you want to shower your loved ones, and even yourself, with gifts, but there’s a danger.

The season of giving can quickly escalate into the season of holiday debt if you’re not careful!

You can have a festive season without overspending. Yes, you and your wallet can still be thriving into January 2022. It all comes down to having a plan.

Here are  five tips that can help you stay out of holiday spending debt:

  1. Create a spending account or budget. Identify how much you want to spend on each person and activity. If you’re using cash, you already know how much you can spend before entering a store. If you’re planning on using credit cards, have a reasonable plan for how you’ll pay your credit card bill. Keep in mind your typical expenses when doing this to make sure you don’t come up short on bills and other obligations.
  2. Time to make a list! (And check it twice!) Make a list of who you will be giving gifts to, what gifts they’re getting, and cross off each gift and person as you do your shopping. You can even track whether you are shipping the gift or hand-delivering and the status on both. Having this plan before you go shopping will help you avoid buying unnecessary items. Track your holiday spending every day to ensure you’re sticking to your plan. PRO TIP: If you keep this tracking list (I use a spreadsheet), you can refer to it next year, and the year after, and the year after. It’s a great way to both make sure you don’t forget anyone and stick to a relatively consistent budget for holiday gifts! 
  3. Challenge yourself and get creative! There are ways to give a meaningful gift at a fraction of the cost. Although it may not work for everyone on your list, you could pick up a new skill while gifting creative homemade presents, such as homemade mixes in a mason jar for hot chocolate, cookie mixes, and soup bases. These are low-cost, high-meaning gifts your loved ones will enjoy.
  4. Consider solo shopping. If you’re susceptible to pressure or find it difficult to stick to your budget when shopping with your friends or family, consider shopping by yourself. You don’t want to be pressured into buying something you never planned on buying. Avoid the stress, go by yourself, and focus on buying only the items that you wrote down on your shopping list.
  5. Start saving for next year. We’re already into the holiday shopping season, but you can start setting money aside every month for next year’s holiday spending. We coach our clients to save money throughout the year for holiday spending. When the holidays arrive next year, you’ll already have that money ready to go. The trick is to open a separate account and name it as your holiday spending account – this way you aren’t tempted to spend it throughout the year.  I can’t tell you how much joy and peace our clients have during the holidays when they implement this tip.  

The last thing you need on your mind is getting stuck in a debt trap at the start of a new year. These five tips will help you stay on target (not just at Target… where so many budgets are ruined) and avoid regret this holiday season.

You can do this with the right plan and by taking appropriate actions. If I can do it with my Amazon shopping tendencies, so can you.

To your prosperity and happy holidays!
Hilary