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That Won’t Kill Your Savings
In This Issue: 3 Fool-Proof Ways to Pay for the Holidays Without Going Broke
Ah, the holidays. It’s a time of sweet treats, family, and giving back — and sometimes giving a little too much. When it comes to the perfect holiday gift, many people spend too much money. The average American spends nearly $1,000 on gifts during the December holidays alone!
It’s possible to cut back and make it to January without major debt. Here’s how.
Check your list — twice!
The list is going to be your secret weapon to tackling the holidays with your savings still intact. Start by writing down the name of every person you’d like to get a gift for. Now, with the exception of your immediate family members, narrow the names down to your top five — top 10 if you’re really popular. Now, place the names of the people who didn’t make the cut into a second list. If you still feel the need to do something for them, send homemade cookies or a handwritten note instead of purchasing something. This limits how much you actually have to spend!
Think beyond store-bought or expensive items.
Sure, everyone wants this holiday season’s “it” item, but sometimes the best gifts don’t even come wrapped under the tree. Instead, look to your own talents as a clue to what you should give. If you’re a great crafter, create something unique for the people on your list. If you can offer the gift of time, provide a free night of babysitting for your friends with kids or an experience at the local theater. These gifts have a bonus factor: Recipients love the gift when they open it, and they love it when they get to use it!
Set a budget — and stick to it.
Setting a holiday budget ensures you only spend what you can afford. It also narrows down your search. If you choose to buy your neighbor something, but they aren’t your top priority, set their budget at a lower level, like $25–$50. If you have a sibling who has had a rough year and you’d like to make their holidays a little brighter, bump their budget up. This narrows the focus of what you’re looking for so you don’t stumble into something you can’t afford.
Ultimately, it’s the spirit of giving during the holidays that makes them so rewarding. With a little ingenuity, you can be generous and avoid the stress of excess debt come January.