The holidays are almost here, and for those struggling with credit debt it can be a very difficult time emotionally and financially.
But with some careful planning and a healthy dose of discipline, you can enjoy the holidays with everyone else without breaking the bank or busting the budget. Here are some tips for surviving this holiday season.
The Budget Doesn’t Budge
If you are working to overcome debt, and especially credit debt, you know how important budgeting is to your success. Once a workable budget has been developed, it must be adhered to. Otherwise all your hard work goes out the window and the debts continue to pile up.
Of course, there will be some gifts you may feel obligated to buy, and other holiday expenses that come up throughout the season, such as funds to travel or a holiday dinner at a restaurant with family and friends.
Living within your budget doesn’t mean these things are off the table, but it does mean they must be budgeted for strictly.
If you have $20 set aside for a family dinner, then you can’t just order whatever you want when you get to the restaurant. You must make your purchases based on the funds you have allotted.
It’s Never Better to Receive . . . More Bills!
No one wants to be a Scrooge during the holidays, but it’s important to keep in mind the people who care most about your success in life neither expect nor want you to spend money you don’t have just to meet the obligation of buying them a gift. Putting thought into simple gifts with meaning will have a better outcome than purchasing expensive gifts that leave you in debt that no one expected you to buy.
Try to interest your family or circle of friends in playing a White Elephant or Secret Santa game, that way you are only responsible for one gift and no one feels left out. Plan activities that are low cost or free, such as sledding or caroling, or touring neighborhood holiday lights.
The Sales Are There to Trick You
Shopping during the holiday season can take a turn in the wrong direction faster than you can say, “What a deal!” The store is not your friend and does not have your best interest at heart.
The store is there for one reason only: to make as much money off of you as possible. The people who work at the store don’t care if you buy pants or computers or shoes, they only care that you buy, buy, buy.
Be sure you are “shopping,” and not “searching” for gifts. Make a list, know what you are planning to purchase, and then shop around for the lowest price on those specific items. Never go to the mall with the idea that you’ll “find it when you get there” or “know it when you see it.”
Figure out what your intentions are – before you ever leave the house, and then stick to your plan.
Let the Holidays be Happy
While shopping on a budget can be stressful if you are struggling with credit debts, with a little planning you can make it through without going further into debt. And don’t forget to enjoy the parts of the holidays that don’t cost anything at all, like lights and music and holiday spirit.
We at CreditGUARD are here to help you deal with your credit card debts this holiday season. Give us a call today to speak to a certified credit counselor about our debt management program!