I signed up for a Discover card last year and ended up putting a lot of my Christmas expenses on it. I am just now close to paying it off. Does anyone have any tips for having a debt free Christmas? Any tips would be appreciated.
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A FRIEND OF MINE BUYS HER CHRISTMAS PRESENTS AT GARAGE SALES & THRIFT STORES. I LOVE IT!!! IT HELPS OUT THE SELLER & THE BUYER. I GOT SOME NICE STUFF FROM HER AND ABOUT 1/8TH THE PRICE.
Two words - Secret Santa.
Elfster.com is a website tool for Secret Santa grab bag organization. What better way than to have to only buy one gift instead of 10. And, it's free.
This takes a little of your time but pays off. Have Book or Ghost parties for different companies. Such as Freindly/Ideal Gifts(has everything from tshirts and blankets to jewlery and toys) , Tupperware (great for adults, college students and hope chest gifts) You can find both companies on the Web and get books and find representatives near you.
Christmas this year is going to be tight for everyone,don't feel that you are alone in your problems.You didn't say whether you have children,but my suggestion is that if you do,let them come first.As for family,co-workers,etc.,let this be the year that you bake and give from your kitchen.I do this a lot and it saves them time,and they can share the goodies with their family and visitors.Don't CHARGE--save up cash and take in the big sale on the evening of Thanksgiving at Walmart and many other stores.Walmart has many little appliances and toys,etc for $5-10.It feels great to come home with purchases that you KNOW are PAID FOR on the spot and not be all stressed out knowing you've overspent on an already full credit card.I always do Christmas CASH ONLY. Maybe there's not as much but I refuse to get into credit card debt.I've seen so many people in debt up to their eyeballs and miserable.REMEMBER----IT'S ONLY A DAY!!!! Try these suggestions mentioned earlier also.Take in the clearance sales--a small item or two at a time--purchased with cash.I guarantee if you follow some of this advice you'll have a lot less holiday stress.
In my family we have never gone overboard at Christmas with gifts so small gifts are always nice. We appreciate the thought, rather than the cost. After all, it's the spirituality of the season!
Another idea I remember my husband and I did for my brother-in-law years ago when he started his office job (he was a mechanic before). We got one of those oversized coffee mugs at the dollar store. We then got paper clips (put them in loose of course for fun!), paper re-inforcements, thumb tacks (okay left those in pkg. ha ha),pen, liquid paper, anything else we could find. Don't forget a corny computer magnet or something. Al loved it.
All of these ideas are great. I think we here in the US generally have TOO MUCH STUFF (I know I do...you should see my basement!), so consider doing a grab bag for adults in the family and smaller gifts for each of the kids. You might consult the kids' parents to find out what the kids NEED rather than buying yet another toy or clothing item they don't need. I love Christmas, but for me it's about being with and celebrating with my family; I don't need the gifts to know how much they love me.
We opened a Christmas Club account at our bank several years ago, and we put a set amount from every paycheck, all year, into this account to use for gifts through the year--used to be $10 every two weeks, but now that we have children and extended family has grown, we put $25 every two weeks. Saving a little throughout the whole year really adds up. Even though it's already September, you can start putting away as much as you can for Christmas every week.
My family has also set limits on what we spend on each other--for example, $50 each for my husband and I and the kids, and $20-$25 for close family (our parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, etc--we don't have too many relatives). I usually make ornaments or cookies for friends and neighbors. My side of the family has started drawing names among the adults, so we just have to buy 2-$30 gifts for my family plus nieces and nephews. You'll have to set limits and just not spend what you do not have! :)
I usually start with after Christmas sales. That's right, I start one year early. I keep in mine those I am buying for when I see a clearence sale or a really good sale and buy a gift or two each pay check. I am always finished with everyone and have them all wrapped by Thanksgiving and I am holiday stress free as everyone else hustles to find the right gift. I have spent cash through the year so I have no credit, and since the money went out over a 12 month period I don't miss it as bad. I hope this helps and have a Merry early Christmas!!!!
Well I know that most people won't or don't do this, but this is what I do - I also have a Discover Card - I charge everything I do on it, gas, food, restaurant visits, hotels, etc....even purchasing a car they will let you put the down payment on discover - I also have several of my monthly bills that I will have to pay anyway charged directly to my discover card to build up the bonus money such as cable, and some utilities - but this is the trick - I PAY THE BILL IN FULL EVERY MONTH - and then at the end of the year I have $300 - $400 in earned bonus money which I can then request in a check or have applied directly to my Discover bill. I have been doing this religiously for several years and it is always nice to know that I have this money at the end of the year to use for Christmas.
Give only to those in your immediate family. Give only one really nice gift to each person.
As a family, volunteer your time at a shelter or soup kitchen for the holidays and I can GUARANTEE everyone will feel grateful for they have!!!
If you feel you must bring something to another's house go to www.recipegoldmine.com and find a gift mix you can make. If you have kids involve them in the gift making. Kids get excited about giving anything they have made.
Focus your family on the giving to others rather than the receiving. A good antidote to the "Gimmies".
I have started a new tradition with my entire family, children included. We have a homemade christmas every year. You have to start early, and it is a little more time consuming than just running out and buying a gift, but I've found that my family members would much rather have a gift I made than a store bought one. The kids really love it too, it lets them use their talents and imagination. We crochet, paint, make jar crafts, woodworking, soapmaking, candlemaking, plastic canvas and sewing, almost anything I can find on the internet. There are so many websites out there to find these ideas and the cost is so much LESS!!!!! Try it and have fun with it!
I opened a Christmas account at the bank. Each pay period I have the bank transfer X amount from my regular acct.to the Christmas acct.I do not have checks for this acct.but I do have a debit card.I leave it in a drawer at home so I am not tempted to spend any of it.It has worked well and I have already compleated shopping for two people on my list.It feels really good!
Give gifts of home made food. It's so nice to receive a basket filled with different types of cookies, fudge...
Make it a family gift instead of an individual gift.
Start now, (earlier next year) and buy one or 2 or so gifts as things go on sale now. Pay cash. Beach towels are on clearance now-why not a beach towel or other seasonal staple item for Christmas? Always check the clearance racks first. Great things are to be had. For books and CD's, check out Half.com. Yard sales often have new or very like new stuff. Kids especially don't much care if things are new if they look new. And babies are happiest with the boxes and paper! Don't forget dollar stores-get a gift bag at 2/$1 and put a few dollar items in it and add a big bow. Don't carry your credit card when you shop. Just carry cash or traveler's checks!
This year I grew lavendar and am making homemade candles and soaps for all my girlfriends. They really enjoy them and they last all year plus they are inexpensive to make. Good Luck
Depending upon your family set up, for those you will see in person over the holidays, get together now and put names in a hat and draw. Set a strict budget limit. For married couples, draw from the hat, stick to that limit, then either buy something in limits of the spending limit, or maybe make something like a booklet of coupons (Good for one night of NO kitchen responsiblities, or Good for one night of a personal evening for yourself with no worries...) For the relatives (like maybe grandparents) who are near and dear to your heart but live across the country... Let the family decide on a gift from everyone (hey, like a scrapbook of family portraits, pictures, drawings and a lovely family newsletter with each member contributing a paragraph). Sometimes with today's economy, a gift from 'all of us' is just what a family can manage. If that offends anyone, then maybe you should remember it isn't really about gifts, but the spirit. It isn't called CHRISTmas for no reason.
I used to make all my Christmas presents, but my family got tired of them, I suspect. Anyway, sometimes the sizes were wrong. So I start December 26th requesting refunding premiums, which I save for Christmas. This year my 30-person gift list will receive such gifts as a famous race car driver jacket, saddle blanket, jewelry, dart boards, etc. I match the gift to the receiver, of course. For this year, why don't you just do one craft for everyone except your kids. Soap, crocheted snowflakes, a dozen tamales, etc. There are a zillion choices. Make up a gift basket with spaghetti, Ragu or homemade marinara, and a Christmas ornament. Or whatever. The main thing is the thought. And my first question is always, "What am I giving Jesus for His birthday?"
I shop all year, beginning during the after Christmas sales. And check the clearance aisles all year. I look for additions to collections or hobbies. Check out the thrift stores. My sister collects chickens and would rather have something "different" for her collection from a yard sale than have something new. My daughter-in-law is a scrapbooker, so I buy things on clearance and at the dollar store all year long. For friends, I make homemade candies, cookies and nutbreads. Last Christmas, I found silver Pizza pans at the Dollar Store. So I bought a dozen, spent several days making peanut brittle, fudge, Divinity, cookies and banana bread. Filled the pizza pan, Covered with Saran Wrap, stuck a big bow on top. Years ago, when we had a lawn business, I used to make up a plate like this for each of our customers...Homemade goodies are always well received. If you have kids, let them help with the cookie making. Or make sugar cookies and let them decorate them. This year, I am making a cookbook for a friend who doesn't cook much. She keeps telling me that I make such good stuff that I should write a cookbook. So I am going to do just that....for her. I will put it in a looseleaf folder so that I can give her additions to it. Most of the recipes are time tested.... I have been making them all my life. If you crochet, make the towels that hang on the refrigerator door,etc. or make an afghan or dish cloths or potholders. Or there are many little things for the person who sews to make. Everybody has their little niche where they excell. Just find yours and get creative.
Harlean from Arkansas
I live in Pittsburgh, PA, in the Pittsburgh Airport there is this great store called Bijoux Terner which is based out of Miami, Fl. Everything in the store is $10 and you would not believe the quality of the merchandise especially the watches. They also sell purses and all sorts of accessories. They have a website with their corporate phone #. There might be one near you or a similar type store.
One thing I do is all year long, if I have a little "extra money", I buy a gift certificate for myself from a store such as Walmart. So if I only have $10 "extra" this month, I puchase a $10 gift certificate. I don't give the gift certificates as gifts -- I "cash them in" when I see potential gift items on sale and stash them away. It's painless when I use them to purchase the stuff -- because the gift certificates were already paid for. And it's easier to squirrel away gift certificates rather than cash! If you buy a $10 certificate here and a $20 one there, it adds up over the course of a year!
Lots of great ideas....Just thought I would add things that I did this year.
I am 95% done with my christmas shopping...
I started off by putting a small layaway in and just paid 5.00 a week on it.....till I got it out and than I would put in another small one..and do the same.
In August I started buying one christmas gift every time I went grocery shopping (once a week)
I do clearnance and I love ebay thru the year....
and when sept. 1 came.... walmart started their christmas layaway...so i put the remainder christmas gifts I needed for everyone and i have till dec. 15 to get that out.... it was so stress free this year.....I loved it.
Just like all the people i buy all my presents thoroughout the year especially when they are on sale so when it comes near the end of the year you aren't shopping around too much getting stuck in the long lines and that especially at Warmart........christmas bonuses from work are a plus but it's better to put items on layby so it'll be easier
There is a great link for 10 steps for a debt free christmas at http://moneyiny e-christmas.html
I guess the key thing is to avoid credit cards at all costs but, there are many more savings ideas there
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