Late Thanksgiving recently joined Black Friday and Cyber Monday as part of the early holiday shopping frenzy. As November dawns, Christmas advertising is already appearing online, on television, and in print.
Before you get caught up in the commercialism of the season, take some time to remember the true meaning of the holidays. They represent a time of rest, reflection and joy.
Personal Finance author Mary Hunt strikes an excellent balance between meaning and merchandise in her book, “Debt-Proof Your Christmas,” built on her own story of going into debt for Christmas shopping more than 20 years ago. .
Hunt acknowledges that there is no single solution to celebrating the holidays, as he shows readers how to have a cash Christmas and avoid the bills that will soon follow in January. Among the many topics he covers are gift-giving, holiday entertaining, and home decorating.
It is imperative that you prepare and plan for the holidays to avoid racking up seasonal debt. The best separator to deter getting emotionally overdrawn on vacation is the weather. “While you’re not emotionally involved is the time when you can think more rationally.”
Hunt’s holiday-celebration-worthy thoughts include:
Attitude. “How you celebrate and how you pay for the Christmas holidays is completely in your control if you make that decision,” says Hunt.
Courage. You may be single, a couple without children, or financially struggling, and part of a large family, and you are expected to buy gifts for each relative. The solution is to develop the courage to give as you want, not out of guilt or expectation. Spend what you can on what you want, not what others say you should. Get creative with gift-giving.
cash in envelopes. Set an amount that you will spend on each gift recipient and place that cash in an envelope. When the money runs out, it runs out and so does the purchase of gifts for that person.
Use cash and you’ll be a more disciplined shopper, bound to find the best deals.
Gift cards. The rise in gift card handouts in recent years leads Hunt to emphasize that they are not the same as cash, but specific store credit subject to that store’s rules and policies. Tips for giving gift cards from Hunt include:
- Give a gift card when it tops the recipient’s wish list, not at its own convenience.
- Please note that many gift cards begin to lose value as early as six months after activation.
- Avoid giving gift cards to children, because they are too abstract. Give cash instead.
outlet stores. Point of sale has become its own brand of retail experience, which requires smart shopping. Hunt’s outlet shopping tips include:
- Wait for the big sales. The points of sale follow the same hours as the regular stores, with the best offers during the main festivities.
- Ask sales associates if the merchandise is premium, name-brand, or lower-quality merchandise made specifically for the point of sale.
- Ask about the off-season merchandise in the back of the store available at rock-bottom prices.
Family traditions. Traditions give families the assurance that even in uncertain times, in the midst of a changing world, there are some things they can count on to stay the same.
One suggested tradition is to collect twenty-four books that align with your family’s values and beliefs for the holidays. Wrap up the books, and starting December 1, let your kids select and open a book before bed and then read it together.
Search surveyed readers for their favorite holiday books (Christmas and Hanukkah) and list the twenty-four most popular titles.
Hunt’s website readers share their inspiring stories of how they personalized their holiday celebrations.
One family opened a box of memories, encouraging members to contribute thoughts about the past year and hopes for the future during the holidays. Each Christmas Eve relative opens the box and reflects on their previous entries.
Debt-Proof Your Christmas features a treasure chest of holiday-enhancing websites, including an organization that distributes gifts to children in dire straits around the world, and a user-friendly site that lets you bid on unclaimed items in debt rooms. stolen police property. Touristic centres
Hunt advises on Christmas tips and charitable contributions. “The most reputable charities spend no more than twenty-five cents for every dollar donated on administrative costs.”
If you’re inspired by affirmations, Hunt offers nine to help you avoid holiday debt, including: “I’ll look out for December 26, when I intend to wake up knowing Christmas is paid for in full.”
Debt-Proof Your Christmas will reign as your go-to for a meaningful, debt-free holiday season all year long. Discover Hunt’s tips now to boost his ability to experience a cash Christmas this year.
To organize your Christmas and simplify your holidays, visit Organized Christmas.