The holidays are the most magical time of year. However, all that magic doesn’t come cheap. There are a lot of extra expenses that go above your typical day-to-day living. Many people use credit as a means of getting through the holiday season, and that comes with its own issues.
You don’t need to be Santa to everyone in your life. If you aren’t careful, you can end up acquiring more debt than you can handle, and it will leave you stressing about the holidays long after you’ve taken down the decorations.
Enjoy your holidays and don’t let them overwhelm you. You don’t need to acquire more and more debt to have a good and happy holiday. There are ways you can take control of your life and your finances without having to succumb to holiday debt.
How does debt increase over the holidays?
December tends to be one of the most expensive months of the year, even if you take the holidays out completely. As the weather gets colder, heating and electric bills tend to rise as well. Furthermore, long gone are the days of outdoor barbequing, and oven baking or stovetop cooking takes its place. Moreover, transportation costs start to rise as you become less likely to walk or your ride bike places.
Christmas is typically the most expensive holiday of the year. Most people acquire as much as 45% more debt in December than any other month. The added expense of purchasing gifts for friends and relatives, decorating, and hosting parties can leave you with more debt than you are capable of managing.
How Do You Manage the Debt During the Holidays?
Here are some steps you can take to help manage your holiday debt.
Make some rules
Setting up some specific spending rules for yourself during the holidays can help you stay within your budget during the most expensive time of year. These rules should be hard and fast and non-negotiable.
Plan your budget
You know your expenses better than anyone. Plan a budget that you can live with and handle once the holidays are over. As you create your budget, make sure there is some flexibility for impulse shopping. You say you won’t do that, but you will. Therefore, make that budget, have the flexibility, and stick to your plan.
Shop at Discount Stores
No matter what anyone says, shopping at a discount store does not mean you don’t get quality items. There are plenty of great gifts you can get at discount stores. You can also look for decorations, accessories, dinnerware, and much more.
If you are going to use a credit card, use one that has a rewards program. If you have not checked your rewards balance, check it. You may be able to pay for gifts using points. Furthermore, using your points card allows you to accumulate points for later use when money is tight.
Another option you can consider is store rewards programs. There are plenty of stores that have rewards programs that turn points into money you can spend. While checking your credit card rewards programs, look into local store programs as well.
What Do You Do Once the Holidays Are Over?
Despite all your efforts, you may still struggle to manage holiday debt. If you find you can’t keep up with your debt, there are options to help you cope. Credit counseling is a great alternative to filing bankruptcy. Furthermore, you can look into a consumer proposal. You don’t have to deal with the overwhelming sea of debt that can easily leave you feeling out of control in your life.
Even if you don’t use credit counseling or debt counseling, you can at least speak to an advisor. Credit advisors have a wealth of information that you can learn. These counselors can help you get your financial life back on track.
If you are concerned about potential holiday debt, know that you have options. Contact us at Golding & Associates, and let our trustees help you manage your financial situation with ease.