According to a study by Nerdwallet,* 40-60% of Americans (it was broken down by generation) anticipate going into debt to finish their Christmas shopping this year. Worse than that, one statistic cited that quite a few are still paying off debt from the 2016 holiday season.
So, it’s the first week of December. If you have already blown through your holiday budget, you need to dig deep and find the resolve to stop spending. Here are some ideas to consider.
But I haven’t finished shopping yet! Don’t do it, people! The only thing worse than the alcohol and sugar hangover you have after the holidays is the credit card bill that will show up in January. All those “deals” that you shop for aren’t such great deals anymore when you end up paying 18-20% interest on carrying the debt for months. Ouch. Exercise some self-control and you will thank yourself later.
Ok, I won’t buy any more – now what? Time to get creative. Can you rearrange the things you already purchased to more evenly spread them out among your recipients? Get creative and make some homemade goodies or other consumable items that won’t require more money that you don’t have. Talk to your friends and family. I have mentioned this before, but it is worth saying again. The folks who love you will understand your predicament and honor your need for a smaller Christmas.
But I already went crazy and racked up debt! Hopefully you saved receipts so you can return some of the more expensive items. Forget feeling embarrassed. Who really cares? Admit your mistake and fix it, pronto. Either repurchase far less expensive gifts, or find a creative solution that costs little to no money to provide a gift.
And whatever you do, do NOT shop after Christmas sales if you’ve already accumulated holiday debt. Stay home on December 26 and create a budget to get out of the credit card debt mess as soon as possible. I know, what a downer! Here’s a suggestion: Make it a special occasion by eating leftover holiday goodies, listening to some good music, and sipping some leftover adult beverages while you work on that budget. Just don’t make it so enjoyable that you repeat the mistake of going into debt next year!
Last but not least, vow to never do your shopping this way again. Get out of credit card debt as fast as possible, and then start saving that credit card payment amount in a Christmas account. By the time the holidays roll around next year, you will be well on your way to paying cash for what you buy, and those credit card bills will be history.
*Not an affiliate or in any way connected to Nerdwallet. Since I have only looked at this one article and not their entire site, I cannot endorse (or not) the site. Just citing my info source!