Top Tips For A Debt-Free Christmas This Year
Sadly over the last 50 years, Christmas has started to get more crazy than calm and peaceful. As more and more people become seriously anxious and stressed with debt and sadly so far away from a debt-free Christmas
Commercialization has played a huge part in the mass cultural pressure of what is perceived as the perfect Christmas. Coca-Cola’s reinvention of a more jolly Santa in 1931 began to open the floodgates for commercial businesses to manipulate consumers into more emotional buying habits, which for many led to more and more debt.
And sadly today that has evolved into massive debt in 9 out of 10 people. In fact that consumers in the UK were said to have spent £11 billion in debt to fund Christmas in 2016. And as we all know debt not only can affect your security but your day-to-day life, home, and relationships. Debt is one of the biggest reasons for a great deal of anxiety and stress and the reason why so many people play the lottery at this time of year, hoping and praying for a debt-free Christmas or New Year.
So How Can You Achieve A Debt-Free Christmas?
Especially when you haven’t saved or simply don’t have the income to stretch past the bills.
Prioritize – Remind yourself what Christmas is really about, it is about the generosity of heart. The most important thing you can give anyone is generosity of heart and time. Being there and spending time with your family and friends is far more important. Focus on who and what is important like the kids first. If you have kids and have a very limited budget shop around, and check out second-hand shops, and online Facebook groups- you would be shocked what people give away or sell that has been rarely used or never opened. My sisters have kids of all different ages, and so many of them who had really young kids would put away Christmas gifts that were never opened and forgotten about. It is worth remembering that really young children don’t need a lot and have no perceived conception of what they should or shouldn’t get. One of my sisters actively buys recycled goods like bicycles both her and her husband have good jobs but they choose to support a healthier environmental way to shop. And their kids love it, especially when they highlight how much buying a specific item has helped reduce carbon footprints etc
Set A Budget– always have a budget for gifts, shopping, and things like taxis, and night’s out. Christmas can be a tempting time just to join in in every party, or night out, or to get carried away but have a budget and don’t feel pressurised to go beyond it. If you are someone who tends to spend more than you have. It can be worth making a deal with yourself that you only spend what you have in cash. Saying that I would suggest you use your credit card so you have some sort of insurance on your purchase.
Make Your Gifts– I know that sounds so old-fashioned but in many ways this has actually become more fashionable. It can be much more appreciated when it is done with great consideration. It can be a great fun activity for the kids. As a single person who spent a large period in my 20’s being very ill and unable to work and belonging to a large family. I had to be very resourceful at Christmas. I would watch out for bargains throughout the year but I have made all sorts of gifts through the years from bath bombs, aromatherapy massage blends, ginger wine, homemade chocolates, my own cards, scarves…I have made bath bombs and large essential oil bath salts in large plastic sweetie jars with some of my nieces n nephew.
Focus On Fun-Focus on gifts that will bring the greatest long-term fun, not something they will get bored with after a few days. Belonging to a huge family, a lot of us when strapped for cash, would choose gifts that are in-expensive but so much fun. This is a great idea if you have been invited to Christmas dinner. It is amazing what you can pick up in shops like B&M, Poundland, or hardware shops. The fun these gifts bring can seriously take the heat off any perceived un-comfortableness with gift sharing. But always remember Christmas is never about how much you spend and just because someone spends a certain amount certainly doesn’t mean you have to do the same.
Finance– if you feel or believe you have no choice but to get a loan or credit card, choose an interest-free card when you can, there are so many options. Check out the Money Saving Expert for this and other ideas to save money. Please be very very careful about whom and where you borrow money from. Always check out the APR. If you are not great with numbers or money, get a friend to check the fine printout for you or help work out repayments. But remember your well-being is far more important than any Christmas gift.