It’s hard to believe but there are only nine weeks left until Christmas 2016! This means if you haven’t given Christmas shopping a thought yet it’s time to do so.
I personally love this time of year. I enjoy seeing all of my family, attending parties and having big dinners with loved ones. The part I don’t like is all of the unnecessary spending and debt that can come along with such a great holiday.
If you want to have a debt free Christmas this year here’s how to do it.
Set a Spending Limit
Your first step is to set a spending limit. This will depend upon how much money you’re comfortable parting with in the name of Christmas gifts.
If you’re interested in averages, last year Americans planned to spend $882, on average, on Christmas gifts. If you fall into this group you’re going to need save about $100 per week from here on out.
However, just because Americans spent this amount on average does NOT mean that you have to. There’s still plenty of time for you to plan a budget friendly Christmas. If you can’t afford to spend almost $900 on gifts, don’t feel guilty. There are plenty of ways to make a smaller budget go far.
Whatever spending limit you choose you need to choose it now and vow to stick with it.
If you’ve determined that this year’s Christmas won’t be as lavish as last years it might be a good idea to have a talk with your children about it.
Setting up expectations now can take a lot of pressure off of you and let your children know what to expect come Christmas morning.
Spend or Save a Certain Amount Each Week
One you have your budget set it’s time to put your plan in motion. Divide your budget amount by nine and plan on purchasing gifts in that amount or saving that amount each week.
Also, keep a list with all of your gift recipients’ names and gift ideas. This way you can check sales and buy whatever is the best deal on your list for that particular week.
Cash in All Rewards
If you want to make your cash go even further look across your various reward accounts online and cash them in.
Part of the way I pay for Christmas each year is by using InboxDollars and Swagbucks (both search engines that offer rewards) and cashing them in each November. I easily accumulate a few hundred dollars in rewards which immensely helps me stretch my Christmas budget.
Aside from these types of accounts, you can also cash in any credit card rewards you’ve earned throughout the year.
Look for Deals
When you start purchasing gifts go through a cash back site (I prefer Top CashBack.) This way you can save money and accumulate cash rewards.
You can also look through coupon blogs like Hip2Save which always shares the best Christmas deals.
With a smart shopping strategy you may be able to get everything on your list well under the budget you set. (Here are 7 Websites and Apps that will help you save on Christmas.)
Do NOT Touch Your Credit Cards
As a parent I know how tempting it is to shower your children with gifts. But if those gifts come at the cost of a bunch of financial stress for you, it’s just not worth it.
If you’re creative you can give your kids a great Christmas without touching your credit cards.
Plan for Next Year
Christmas comes at the same time every year. If you want to have debt free Christmases from here on out start planning in advance. You can do this by saving $20 out of each paycheck into a special account all year. Or you can do what I do and take advantage of reward sites like Top CashBack, InboxDollars and Swagbucks throughout the year.
The earlier you get started planning the easier it will be to have a debt free Christmas.
What steps have you taken to have a debt free Christmas?
Alexa Mason is a freelance writer and wanna be internet entrepreneur. She is also a newly single mom to two beautiful little girls. She chronicles her journey as a single mom trying to make it big at www.singlemomsincome.com.