You’re still battling the kids about eating their Halloween candy and the furthest thing on your mind is Christmas… but it just around the corner.
If you are like most people, there is enormous pressure, not to mention temptation, to over-spend each holiday season… especially if you have kids. Many of us feel like we will be disappointing or kids if we fail to get them all of the trendy, new gadgets, gizmos and toys that the TV commercials tell them they want.
The potential for disappointment is not reserved just for gift giving to our kids but for everyone we want to buy gifts for. A survey by Consumer Reports showed that 14.1 million Americans, or 6% of the country, are still paying off credit card purchases from last holiday season, up from 13.6 million in 2009. With money tight, the only way to satisfy our need to please is to pull out the plastic… well, not this year.
It is possible to set a budget for your holiday shopping, buy nice gifts, and yourself out of financial ruin, all the while leaving the credit cards at home. Here are a few tips for surviving the holidays without a credit card.
The Sooner the Better — Okay, Halloween was Thursday, start your Christmas shopping Saturday. The sooner you get out there the less stressed you will feel. Most overspending can be attributed to last minute, pressure shopping. If you start now, you will be able to make well planned purchases and enjoy the nearly two month cushion you have to get your shopping done.
Make Your List and Check it Twice — Make a list of the people you want to give gifts to. Don’t feel like you have to give a gift to everyone you know, it is okay to just buy gifts for family and close friends.
Do the Math — After you have created your list, take the time to write down how much you plan on spending for each person’s gift(s). If you have to pick yourself up off the floor after totaling up your list, go back and make some adjustments until you get to an amount you can live with, without using the plastic!
Search the Web — Since you have started your shopping early, you are able to take advantage of the great deals that can be found on the internet. EBay or big retailer’s websites can offer much better deals than you are able to find at brick and mortar stores… and now you have time for shipping and don’t have to worry about your purchases arriving on December 26th.
Lay-A-Way Magic — Lay-a-way can be your best friend, especially since we have started shopping early. In case you have never heard about Layaway programs, let’s go over the basics… Layaway is similar to buying on credit with the exception that your purchases stay at the store until you finish paying for them. Every store has their own rules when it comes to layaway but here are the basics:
- You can shop for virtually anything. Take your items to the store’s layaway counter in the store or add to your shopping cart online.
- Make a down payment. The down payment usually includes a service fee and is due when you initiate your contract.
- Make payments every two weeks online or at any of the store’s registers with cash, check or debit card.
- Pick up your items after you make your last payment or schedule your pick-up after making your final payment online.
Many retailers offer a layaway program. The great thing about using a layaway program to purchase your holiday gifts is that you can pay for the items over time, avoiding a big immediate expense, and avoid the interest that paying with a credit card would incur. Not to mention, you have to pay off your layaway or you don’t get your items, they stay at the store while you are making payments.
Stock up on Wrapping Paper — The best time to purchase wrapping paper is after the Holidays are over… keep that in mind for next year. Since you have started your shopping early, you can stretch out the money you spend for wrapping items like wrapping paper, cards and tags. Keep a lookout for sales and consider buying a roll or two when you go grocery shopping. When the time comes to start wrapping those gifts your bought, you’ll have plenty of wrapping paper and supplies.
Following these few tips will not only make certain that you and your family will have a wonderful holiday season, but will assure that you have no problem surviving the holidays without a credit card, and avoid being one of the 14.1 million Americans that are still paying for holiday gifts for years to come.
However, if you are one of the 14.1 million Americans, you can pay off that credit card debt at largely reduced interest rates and payments in no time at all by calling Debthelper.com at 800-920-2262 or click here for more information.