A Resolution for Christmas Debt
It’s that time of year where people make resolutions for the New Year and work hard to overcome the debt of yet another Christmas season. Did you go into debt again this year? Are you frustrated and felt it wasn’t worth it? How about creating a resolution that will prevent Christmas debt?
Here are a few tips to help you keep avoid accruing debt over the Christmas holiday:
1) In January, open a Christmas account and make a deposit each month. Most credit unions offer this account; however, if your financial institution does not, simply open an additional savings account with your bank. Use receipts to determine the amount of money spent on gifts from the previous year. This will become the baseline budget for the upcoming Christmas season. Deposit as much or as little as you can each month to reach your baseline budget. The Christmas account will release the funds around the beginning of November, just in time for making those holiday purchases.
2) Where can the additional money come from? Open an account with a credit union, and save the bank fees you’ve been paying. You can also give up two or three meals out per week and stop buying gifts for people that do not appreciate them. Instead, donate some time throughout the year at a favorite charity on their behalf (I suggest a day for everyone you can take off your list). Make sure you send a homemade card or end of year newsletter with photos of their honored day (this too can be accomplished on your home computer) letting them know you donated time on their behalf. It’s a gift that focuses on those in need and the only expense to you is time.
3) Another great way to cut the expense of gift giving is by going through the service industries you frequent throughout the year. A great example is Massage Envy. Massage Envy has locations across the US. For the $49 monthly membership fee you get hour long monthly massages. But did you know that you can give your unused pre-paid massages as a gift or purchase additional massages at the membership rate? Check them out at massageenvy.com for more details.
4) In a commercialized society where people want labels, remember that the best label is your own. If you have a skill or talent, then make something original and put your name on it. For example, if you can draw or paint, create an original piece of art and make sure you sign your work and place a business card on the back. It is an excellent marketing strategy and you never know who could see it. Another idea would be home baked goods. They are perfect for those we work with and you probably already know what everyone likes. Again, you can create labels from your home computer for that personalized touch.
5) Many of us struggle with gift ideas and end up buying whatever the store has to offer. Creative and/or personalized gifts trump obligatory store bought presents. There are several small internet based companies that specialize in creative and unique personalized items. For example, personalized coasters from http://mysite.verizon.net/res17ypj8/giftcoasters or http://mysite.verizon.net/res17ypj8/ for other unique gift ideas. Most people use coasters and this company offers a variety of personalized gift options.
By committing to this resolution in 2012, you can prevent the dreaded holiday debt cycle forever and get back to enjoying the holidays.