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How not to go into debt for the holidays

According to the American Research Group Inc., the average American intends to spend $992 this holiday season. For some, this could end up breaking the bank if they’re not careful. With all of the pressure to spend during the holidays, it’s easy to go into debt. If you want to avoid debt this season, here are a few tips to survive the holidays debt-free.How not to go into debt for the holidays T

Make a budget

Review your monthly budget and determine what you can truly afford this season. Don’t stretch yourself too thin and allow some wiggle room for unexpected expenses.

Then, develop a holiday budget for all of your expenses. This budget should include decoration, gifts, meals, and anything else you can think of. Write down a specific dollar amount next to each expense. Making a budget will help you stay organized and not overspend.

Develop shopping lists

Next, make a shopping list for each category. Write down every person you need a gift for and gift ideas within your budget. Always Keep your shopping lists with you. These lists will help you stay on track and only purchase what you absolutely need.

Go for personal gifts

Some of the best gifts are ones that come from the heart. Put your creative hat on and try making some personal gifts. You could design anything from personalized frames to ornaments.

Do a secret Santa exchange

Suggest doing a secret Santa exchange with your friends or family. This way you will only need to purchase one gift. Set a spending limit that you can afford. Not only will this save you money but it will save you time as well.

Sell your items on eBay or Craigslist  

Do you have items laying around your house that you don’t use? Why not try selling them for additional cash? Selling some items for cash on eBay or Craigslist is a great way to get extra money to spend on presents. 

Avoid Black Friday traps

Even though there are great deals on Black Friday, it can be easy to overspend. Make sure you only purchase items that are on your lists.

Use your bonus to buy gifts

Use your bonus to purchase all of your holiday gifts. You may be tempted to spend it but using it toward your gifts can help you avoid going into debt during the holidays.

Get comfortable saying no

Remember it’s okay to say “no”. If you can’t afford something, it’s best to pass. You’re friends and family will understand. You don’t want to jeopardize your budget just because you feel guilty saying “no”.

Give services as gifts

Wouldn’t it be nice if someone cleaned your home after the holidays or took care of the kids? Offering a service may be a better gift than buying something your loved one doesn’t need. On top of that, it will save you money. 

Design your own holiday decorations

Holiday decorations can be expensive. Try heading to your local craft store and create your own decorations. Making your own decorations can also be a great way to spend time with your family. So, get creative and start designing.

Create a plan of action for unexpected debt

Even if you do everything you can to avoid debt, sometimes it happens. That’s why you should create a debt repayment plan. This will help you prepare for any debt in advance. It will also help decrease your stress and anxiety.

The bottom line

Just because you may spend more money during the holidays doesn’t mean you have to go into debt. Use these tips to help you avoid debt this season and have the best holiday yet!

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This is a post from Clint Haynes, a Certified Financial Planner® and Financial Advisor in Kansas City, Missouri. He is also the founder and owner of NextGen Wealth. You can learn more about Clint at the website NextGen Wealth.

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