If money is already a little tight, it might be a struggle to avoid debt during the holiday season. We associate this time with family, friends, traditions and unfortunately, with credit cards. For many Americans, the added costs of the season can be a fast track to consumer debt. Here’s a look at how to survive the holidays without drowning in interest payments.
How to Avoid Debt During the Holidays
- Budget everything: If you don’t have a plan you will spend far more than you can afford. Know your budget for travel, gifts, food and other big items. Have an overall ballpark figure for the costs of the holiday season. Some people even create a special checking account just for the holidays. They put the budgeted amount of money into the account, then that becomes their complete source of funds for the season.
- Use technology to book flights: A little bit of shopping can save you a lot on air travel. Use online tools and provide them with as much flexibility as possible in terms of airlines and departure times. You might also consider regularly clearing your browser information, because airlines will occasionally adjust rates based on your history.
- Buy online: Before you buy a gift at a brick and mortar store, check to see if there is a cheaper option online. Typically, even discounts are not going to beat online prices. Do your shopping early, to avoid paying for faster shipping.
- Try potlucks: If you are planning on hosting, the costs of feeding your friends and family yourself can be a big burden. Hosting a potluck can be both frugal and fun. Everyone can bring a favorite dish, so that the group shares the cost of the meal.
These tips will help you reduce your spending during the holiday season. This will go long way towards avoiding consumer debt. If money is especially tight, it might also be wise to cut costs in other areas temporarily, to make up for the increase of spending during the holidays. Keeping to a budget can be tough, but it’s worth it to avoid the leachate later on.
Kevin D. Judd is a DC bankruptcy lawyer who fights passionately to help his clients find a gateway to financial freedom.