How Much Should You Spend for Christmas if You Are in Debt?

I had to go to the store a few days ago to get groceries and other necessities. As I navigated my cart down the isles I noticed the many Christmas displays scattered throughout the store.

While Christmas creeps ever closer many people get stressed about the holidays. There’s the tree to put up including lights, garlands, and ornaments. Holiday baking also has to be fit somewhere into busy schedules.

But there are also gifts to buy and wrap for the holidays. For some this is the biggest stressor of them all. This is especially true if you are in debt.

In fact, how much should you spend for Christmas if you are in debt?

Determine What You Must Buy

The first thing to do if you are already in debt is to figure out how much you absolutely must spend. To do this, begin with a list of everything you must spend money on.

Include cards, gifts, food, and decorations. Don’t forget to include the things you don’t see, such as postage to mail the cards or shipping for gifts to far away friends and relatives.

Since you can’t do anything about the debt you already have, all you can do is try to avoid accumulating more. Try to limit holiday purchases to what is absolutely necessary. Buy simple gifts that are unique but not expensive.

You can also look for alternatives that will be less costly. For example, instead of mailing cards this year, cut these cost altogether by sending electronic versions instead.

Compare to Your Budget

Now things get a bit tougher. You must figure out how your budget can absorb the extra expenses of the holidays.

Make a list of expenses and bills you have to pay between now and Christmas. Include food, rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and any other “musts”.

Weigh these expenditures against your income. The difference is how much you can spend for Christmas.

Slash Spending

If your Christmas budget isn’t going to be enough to cover what you must buy, try slashing your spending between now and then.

Cut out all restaurant meals, or at least go places where your kids eat for free. Lower your grocery bill by cooking at home as an alternative. You can also help by eliminating unnecessary things like alcohol, soda, and many snacks.

Turn your thermostat down a notch or two and grab a sweater or blanket if you are cold and need to warm up while at home.

Anything you can do to slash your spending adds dollars to your Christmas spending budget.

Dig Up Extra Cash

If you have a partner or spouse, it may help you to share your concerns with them. After all, they are half of the equation, so why not let them help you?

Don’t throw in the towel and grab your credit cards to solve your money problems. Instead, put your heads together (two heads are better than one they say) and come up with creative solutions.

Why not call your creditors to see if you can lower any of your bills, such as your cell phone bill? Or, sell some of your unused stuff online to gain a little extra cash?

You might even be able to make a little extra money by driving for Uber or Lyft. Or, hire yourself out to others doing odd jobs, walking dogs, cleaning houses, or anything else you can think of.

Christmas is coming whether or not each of us will be ready. Rather than stress or agonize over it and your debt, do something about it.

Figure out how much you should spend for Christmas if you are in debt and stop the cycle of adding to it every holiday season.

How much do you spend for Christmas each year? Do you go into debt during the holidays?

Enjoy Plunged in Debt?


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