I cannot believe that Thanksgiving is next week and that people are already starting to set up all of their holiday garb on their lawns and in their houses. In fact, the Starbucks I am sitting in currently has all of their Christmas and Holiday stuff, and the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town, just came on the speakers. While I am not ready to get into the "Holiday Spirit", I do understand that it's important to have a game plan for spending throughout the season. Believe it or not, next Friday is "Black Friday" and that will be the official shopping kickoff for many people. Well, I came across a lovely little article from Yahoo! Finance which talks about six ways to avoid going into debt a lot through the season. Here's a few that I try to do myself, and encourage you to as well!
Consider Alternative Gifts Ideas
Spending money on gifts is often times inevitable, especially if you have a big family. There are ways to get around spending so much money on gifts. First off, if you are a trooper and can get up early, go out on Black Friday and see what deals stores are offering. Also, one of the most heartfelt gifts you could ever give is a homemade gift. It shows that you care about the person (as long as you actually put effort into it) and often times it can be cheaper than buying the latest toy or gadget. I've got some really great homemade gifts over the years, and really enjoy the fact that someone would put in the time and effort to create something specific for me. If all else fails, don't be afraid to check out some thrift stores. They have some awesome deals in there, and you can often times find just what you are looking for!
Eat Out Less
This may seem like a novel idea, but seriously...don't eat out right before, or during the holidays unless you absolutely have to! If you estimate spending about 25 dollars per person each time you go out to eat, you can spend a pretty penny if you go out a few times while shopping. Instead, pack some snacks (I like pretzels) with you that will hold you over until you get home. Sure, the restaurant may be having a good holiday sale, but it means less money in your pocket for getting some other goodies for your friends and family.
Boycott The Holidays
Don't Shop Til You Drop
Make sure you've gotten a good nights sleep before going out and shopping that next day. I understand that on Black Friday, it's near impossible to do this, but at the same time, once 1 PM hits, most of the big sales have ended. Don't go from place to place while being over tired. Your brain often times does not think clearly and you may end up spending a lot more than you actually needed to. I know we have all come home from shopping at some point wondering why we bought some of the items that we did. It normally happens to me while shopping for food, but the same principles go when shopping for presents.
For a link to the article, click here. They have other great tips to follow as well! So here's to a great kickoff to the holiday season! Let's hope we aren't all broke by the end of it all.
Have you started your shopping?