Avoid Holiday Debt: Start Saving

: Reese Baker & Associates

  Filed under: Money Management

holidayYou might be wondering why on earth anyone is talking about Christmas already. Well, considering there is only 92 days left until Christmas you don’t have a lot of time to start saving. So, get to it!

Here is how to bump  up your holiday savings and keep yourself out of more credit card debt this holiday season:

1. Plan it out — the quickest way to overspend at the holiday season is by not having a gift buying guide. Write out a list of your  must-haves for buying and take the time to generate gift ideas for each. Not everyone wants the latest iPhone for Christmas, some prefer homemade gifts or functional ones that they can appreciate for years to come. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to buy the entire office a $25 Starbucks cards, bring in some yummy treats the day before holiday vacation instead.

2. Skip the extras — if you are like most you probably go through the drive through for coffee or lunch at least once a week. Commit to taking your own coffee and lunch for the next 13 weeks until Christmas and set that money aside as a holiday fund. Just skipping one cup of fancy coffee can earn you over $100 in holiday gift savings by Christmas. Find other ways to cut back and sock away money for your holiday shopping, it’s only a few weeks and definitely worth avoiding credit debt over Christmas gifts.

3. Get hired — Economists are predicting that some 800,000 jobs will be added to retail stores for seasonal employment this holiday season. Be one of those temporary employees and really make strides in your cash earnings for Christmas. Working one or two days a week as a seasonal employee could earn you thousands between now and the end of the year. Put that money towards gifts, save it for a rainy day, or even pay down your credit debt.

4. Cash is king — It can be tempting to use credit cards for holiday gift purchases, but it is often a poor money management strategy. Too many people don’t pay off their holiday purchase balances within a month or two, leaving them stuck paying significantly more for their gifts due to interest fees. Always use cash when you can. If you can’t afford a gift in cash, consider finding a different gift for that special someone this year.