Friday, October 28, 2005

10 steps to a Debt Free Christmas

Before the Christmas marketing machine cranks into high gear, now is the time to make your commitment to a credit free Christmas and give yourself the best gift of all…No Debt.

When you are caught up in the inevitable shopping frenzy that will soon be upon us, it will seem impossible to resist the temptation of putting one small extra gift on your credit card. The reality is unless you can pay off the bill in full when it is due, you are paying too much.

At the risk of sounding like Scrooge, here are some ideas that will save you money and hopefully make your gift giving a more personal experience.

1. Set a Christmas budget based on free cash that you have on hand – forget about Lines of Credit and Credit Cards.

2. Take your Christmas budget and find a pre-paid credit card – this way you know you have the cash to pay the bill.

3. Lock up your regular credit cards and stick to the pre-paid credit card.

4. Set a limit on the value of Gifts…explain to kids that Santa has a budget too

5. Think of a gift exchange between family members rather than buying a gift for everyone. – Most people dread the Christmas Cash Crunch and would likely welcome a more personal gift exchange.

6. A single Santa Gift for the entire family lets you control the expenditure and engage everyone in the selection process

7. For older kids, cash is king...and there are advantages, boxing day sales give more value for money and can greatly stretch your budget.

8. Boxing-day should be looked at as an opportunity to teach kids the value of money and patience. Use boxing-day as an example of how impulse purchases cost more and how being patient can pay off with savings of 25-50%.

9. Consider seasonal part-time job to make a little extra money to ease the pain on the pocket book rather than going into debt. (some stores even offer employee discounts)

10. Never shop based on the payments you can afford.


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