According to the US News and World Report, nearly 42% of Americans expect to go into debt to pay for the holidays this year. How do we make sure we’re not doing that? In this week’s post, let’s talk about how to save money during this Yuletide season.
In the early November survey from U.S News & Report, when asked what methods folks would use to finance the holidays, 19.6% planned on carrying a credit card balance, 13.4% planned on using a buy now, pay later plan, and 8.7% said they’d use a combination of both.
Just over 41% of Americans plan to spend $500 or less on shopping this year, and nearly 12% plan to spend $1,000 or more.
Now, as a Clo Bare Blog reader, you probably already know why we want to avoid going into credit card debt: it’s incredibly difficult to get out of. And the best way to get out of debt?
Is to make plans to never get into it.
So if you’re reading this now prior to getting into debt for the holidays?
Well, done– I’m proud of you and I hope this post prevents you from going into debt!
But if you’ve already done your shopping and are already in debt? Don’t worry– but let’s make a plan for next year.
How to Avoid Going into Debt for the Holidays
1) Suggest a Secret Santa
My immediate family is pretty big (my mom had 5 kids in 7 years), 12 folks if we count significant others, and we are all pretty close.
But I don’t end up going into debt for the holidays, despite having such a big family.
Because YEARS ago, before any of us had any money to buy gifts— we started a secret Santa. It started with just the kids, but now we’ve incorporated our parents and any significant others as well.
It saves us all a lot of money on buying gifts for everyone, and it’s really fun guessing who bought who what and it’s also really fun focusing on buying something for a different person each year.
If you find yourself having to buy too many presents for too many family members?
Suggest a Secret Santa to help the holidays be a little more budget friendly, and set a limit on how much each person can spend. For us, it’s $50 per person, and we use a fun and free app called Elfster to make the drawing of names and wishlists easy.
2) Set a Budget for Each Person You Plan to Buy For
And don’t go over that limit! In fact, if you have a hard time sticking to this, consider getting some gift cards for the exact amounts you plan to spend for each person, and use those gift cards to do your shopping.
This way, you have a HARD stop when the gift card says– eh, there’s not enough balance on this card to purchase that!
Or if you do your shopping in person, you could always do the cash envelope method for the holidays.
You take out the cash you plan to spend per person, and put the money into an envelope with each person’s name on it. Then you ONLY spending what’s in that envelope.
Once you run out? You’re done!
3) Shop as Early as Possible
I made the mistake of waiting until Black Friday to do my shopping this year, and guess what I realized?
Black Friday is a scam.
The prices went UP for Black Friday! The whole thing is a big scam.
Even if your item is “on sale” likely the price was jacked up and THEN put on sale. Don’t fall into the trap or the stress of Black Friday sales, and instead, plan early!
If I had planned early and bought before Black Friday, I would’ve saved more than 60% on some of the items that went up in price on Black Friday. And here’s the thing…
Panic and Impulse Purchases
When we’re shopping too close to the holiday, there’s a level of panic and getting swept up in the holidays that happens.
We often start entering into the “eff-it” mentality and add more and more things to the cart because we already went over budget– what’s a little bit more?
And then we keep spending, and spending, and spending because we also think we’re getting all these good deals (even though we aren’t) and in January we look at our credit card statements and wonder what in the heck were we thinking?
This is why shopping early and avoiding the holiday craze can be a huge saver– because mentally?
We’re at peace and we’re not getting swept up.
4) Remember… It’s okay to say no.
I had a viral reel recently that talked about an underrated money saving hack– and I think it applies even more during the holidays.
Here it is:
Stop doing things for people who wouldn’t do the same for you.
And ESPECIALLY, stop going out of your way to do things for people who wouldn’t do the same for you!
For all my people pleasers:
Constantly trying to people please and go above and beyond for folks who would not return the favor is a surefire way to end up exhausted, resentful and broke.
For example, not long ago a friend asked me to attend something that was going to be very inconvenient for me to go to. I would’ve had to drive hours away, found a place to stay or drive back the same night, which would’ve resulted in me either being exhausted or spending hundreds of dollars on lodging and food… plus gifts!
Can’t forget the gifts!
The people-pleaser in me wanted to say yes to make sure this person would still love me.
But you know what I realized?
This person would not go out of their way to do this for me.
So why was I stressing myself out about it?
I encourage you to take a moment to think about it too– if there’s something that you know it’s going to be stressful, expensive or draining to attend?
Don’t respond right away.
Think about it, and decide if that’s something you really want to dedicate your limited resources to.
The Holidays are Not About Going into Debt
At the end of the day– the holidays aren’t about going into debt. They’re about spending time with people you love, and appreciating each other’s company.
Let the people you love know how much you love them.
But remember– the people who love you? Don’t want you going into debt for them.
What holiday saving tips do you have? Share in the comments below.
And if you’re ready to prepare for next holiday season? Be sure to grab my free money guide with budgeting templates, tutorials and more to get you started.