The holiday season has officially arrived, and consumers are going to be spending an unprecedented amount of money on food, drinks, parties, and…of course…gifts this year.
Unfortunately, a recent YouGov survey found that a large number of those consumers are still struggling to pay off debts that they acquired during last year’s holiday season. And if they are planning to add to those debts in order to get through this year’s holidays, they are going to be in for a difficult start to 2019.
Whether you are one of those consumers still struggling with debt from 2017, or you are simply looking to avoid becoming one of them next year, we have put together a list of five ways that you can avoid acquiring new debt during the holiday season this year.
1. Agree to Spend Less
One of the easiest ways to avoid taking on new debt during the holidays is to make agreements with your friends and family that you are going to spend less on gifts, as well as food and beverages for various holiday parties.
You can take this idea and build on it by switching your traditional family gift giving to a grab-bag style event where each person participating is only responsible for purchasing one reasonably priced gift.
2. Avoid Those Credit Cards
Another simple policy to help avoid taking on any debt during the holiday season is to make sure that you keep yourself from using those credit cards.
It might be more difficult to pay for gifts as you can afford them, but using things like layaway can be a big help in this respect. And you will definitely have a more enjoyable holiday without any credit card bills hanging over your head.
3. Implement a 24-Hour Wait Period
Holiday shoppers are notoriously bad impulse buyers. Whether you are out shopping for gifts or buying a round of drinks at the company Christmas party, this is the easiest time of year to go over budget on a wide range of expenses.
To help prevent exactly that, we suggest placing a 24-hour wait period on anything you get the sudden urge to buy…especially for online purchases like that ugly Christmas sweater that you don’t really need in the first place.
4. Give Time Over Money
In many cases, the gifts you are thinking about taking on new debt to purchase are not ever going to be used by the people you are buying them for. Think about the gifts those same people have bought for you over the years. Chance are pretty good that at least a few of them are sitting unopened in a closet somewhere.
In many cases, the people you are buying for would appreciate a gift of your time much more than whatever you might find to buy for them. Things like helping out with a home improvement project or cooking dinner for an old friend can be much better gifts than any amount of money could ever buy.
5. Pick Up a Side Hustle
If all else fails and you still feel like you have to go out and buy gifts for your friends and family, don’t forget that you always have the option of picking up a side hustle to earn a little extra money to pay for those gifts.
Every store and restaurant is looking for seasonal help this time of year, and it is also a great time to try to sell that crafting project you are so passionate about.
Whether you get there by spending less or earning more, the end result of avoiding taking on any new debt this holiday season is the best gift that you could possibly get for yourself. And it’s one that you will truly appreciate once we ring in the New Year!