Christmas is a time when people are often tempted to overspend. While it’s great to enjoy gifts and splurge a bit, it’s also important to maintain frugality and avoid debt. Here are a few practical ways to do so.
Make Shopping Lists Ahead of Time
Money troubles often happen because you don’t know who to shop for, what they want, or how many gifts to buy. Many people fall prey to impulse buys, which run up bills. Before Christmas shopping, make a list of who to shop for and a couple of important gifts for each person. If you’re doing all the shopping for certain family members, such as small children, budget how much each gift should cost. Tell yourself you will not go over your limit. If a gift is outside your budget, ask family members to chip in.
Don’t Use Credit Cards
December is prime time for credit card debt. Don’t rely on credit cards unless you can pay your balance immediately after shopping or after the holidays. The longer you wait, the more missed payments will pile up. Your interest rate may increase too. If you need to use credit cards, start planning for the next Christmas in January to ensure you have wiggle room on your balances.
Spend Frugally on Groceries
Believe it or not, many Americans waste money at the grocery store – not the mall. Again, impulse buys are a big culprit. Many people overestimate how much food they need for Christmas dinner. Don’t buy a bigger turkey or more sides than you actually need. Use coupons and scope out pre-Christmas deals.