Is it Okay to Go Into Debt for Christmas Presents?
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The Target aisles are starting to feature twinkle lights and Christmas trees, which means many parents are beginning to wonder how they’ll fund the holidays this year. Unfortunately, according to CNN, two-thirds of them will spend more than they can afford, meaning many parents will go into debt for Christmas presents this year.
Some will use credit cards and go into debt for Christmas presents for several months. Others will take drastic measures to fund their purchases 11% have dipped into their retirement account, 14% used funds from their emergency savings and 11% have taken out a payday loan.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it isn’t worth putting your long-term finances at risk. So, if you haven’t purchased gifts all year round, here are some tips to avoid going into debt for Christmas presents this year.
You might feel pressure to buy gifts for all of your co-workers and every one of your family members. However, it’s not worth it to go into debt for Christmas presents that aren’t memorable or useful.
Instead, try to be more thoughtful. Attach a handwritten note with a $5 Starbucks gift card. In the note, you can say how much you enjoy working with them and ask them to use the gift card for a coffee date.
Sometimes, that means more to people than an overpriced candle or another pair of gloves. Try to think of all the ways that you can appreciate the people in your life and be thoughtful without breaking the bank.
Trim Your List
It might seem harsh, but you don’t have to buy gifts for everyone.
You can always make cookies for your neighbors or your children’s teachers. Not everyone has the budget to give a beautifully wrapped gift for everyone in their lives.
For many of us, that would be nice and we want to feel generous, but the reality is that we simple can’t afford to be Santa to everyone in our lives during the holidays. Making everyone you love feel special at Christmas is awesome but it’s not worth sacrificing your financial stability.
If you’re from a large family, suggest that you each pick a Secret Santa gift or do a fun gift exchange game where everyone just brings one gift. This can cut down on the financial stress of providing something for everyone.
avoid going into debt for christmas presents by finding ways to save
The truth is that there are plenty of ways to spend less than you did last year on Christmas presents and still give the people in your life gifts they will enjoy. For starters, use a cash back portal like Ebates to earn money on the things you would already be buying. Ebates even lets you save money on Amazon as well as hundreds of other retailers.
Speaking of Amazon, if you’re accustomed to shopping in person for your gifts every year, consider shopping online this time. Amazon offers killer deals on a wide variety of Christmas gifts on Black Friday, but they are also a great place to find many items, especially toys, all year round.
Plus, by shopping online at Amazon, Target, WalMart or your other favorite retailers, you avoid having to battle the crowds at the malls, which are usually bustling with people who waited until the last minute to make their gift purchases. That doesn’t have to be you this year.
Realize Kids Don’t Care
I don’t know any other way to say it. Kids don’t care whether or not their gifts are brand new. They don’t care that you spent hundreds of dollars to make sure they had the hottest gift of the year.
We all know that if you put out four massive cardboard boxes in your living room on Christmas morning your kids will have a ton of fun (unless they’re teenagers).
So, try to relax. You’re not a bad parent if you don’t spend $500 on each child. You’re not a bad parent if you bought them a bike at a garage sale or off of Craigslist (that’s what I did!)
If you’re not sure how to rein yourself in when it comes to shopping for your kids, try using the Four Gift Rule. It’s a great way to organize your gift giving without breaking your budget.
Kids remember Christmas because it’s a fun time of year. They remember it because they get to spend time with you, their parents. They get to eat cookies and sing fun Christmas carols.
They aren’t going to count each gift and ask the price of everything under the tree. So, try not to put too much pressure on yourself.
Remember, going into debt for Christmas presents prevents you from reaching your long-term financial goals, like paying for your kids’ college tuition or funding your own retirement. Every time you go into debt to buy a present, you’re choosing a physical object over your long term financial security.
Try some of the above tips to stay on track and on budget this holiday season. It will still be as merry and bright; and your future self will absolutely thank you.
What is your Christmas budget this year? How much do you usually spend on your kids? Do you like shopping for second hand gifts or do you prefer to buy everything new? What are some other tips for making the holidays more affordable?
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