Late Thanksgiving was recently joined by Black Friday and Cyber Monday as part of the early holiday shopping frenzy. As November dawns, holiday advertising is already appearing online, on television, and in print.
Before you get caught up in the commercialism of the season, take some time to remind yourself of the true meaning of the holidays. They represent a time of rest, reflection and joy.
Personal finance author Mary Hunt strikes an excellent balance between meaning and merchandise in her book, “Debt-Proof Your Christmas,” developed from her own story of going into debt from Christmas shopping more than 20 years ago. .
Hunt acknowledges that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to celebrating the holidays, as he shows readers how to have a cash Christmas and avoid the bills that will soon follow in January. Among the many topics he covers are gift-giving, holiday entertaining, and home decorating.
It is imperative that you prepare and plan for the holidays to avoid racking up seasonal debt. The best separator to deter becoming emotionally overdrawn on vacation is time. “While you’re not emotionally involved, that’s when you can think more rationally.”
Hunt’s holiday-worthy thoughts include:
Attitude. “How you celebrate and how you pay for Christmas vacation is completely in your control if you make that decision,” says Hunt.
Courage. You may be single, a couple without children, or have financial difficulties and be part of a large family, and you are expected to buy gifts for each relative. The solution is to develop the courage to give as you want, not out of guilt or expectation. Spend what you can on what you want, not what others say you should. Get creative with gift giving.
cash in envelopes. Set an amount to spend on each gift recipient and put that cash in an envelope. When the money runs out, so does the purchase of gifts for that person.
Use cash and you’ll be a more disciplined shopper, forced to find the best deals.
Gift cards. The rise in gift card giving in recent years leads Hunt to emphasize that they are not the same as cash, but specific store credit subject to that store’s rules and policies. Tips for giving Hunt gift cards include:
Give a gift card when it tops the recipient’s wish list, not at your own convenience.
Please note that many gift cards begin to lose value as early as six months after activation.
Avoid giving gift cards to children, because they are too abstract. Give cash instead.
Outlet stores. Point of sale has become its own kind of shopping experience, which requires smart shopping. Hunt’s outlet shopping tips include:
Wait for the big sales. The outlets follow the same hours as regular stores, with the best deals during major holidays.
Ask sales associates if the merchandise is premium, name brand, or lesser quality made specifically for the point of sale.
Ask about off-season merchandise in the back of the store available at rock-bottom prices.
Family traditions. Traditions give families the assurance that even in uncertain times, in the midst of a changing world, there are some things they can count on to stay the same.
A suggested tradition is to collect twenty-four books that align with your family’s values and beliefs for the holidays. Wrap up the books, and starting December 1, let your children select and open a book before bed and then read it together.
Search readers surveyed for their favorite Christmas books (Christmas and Hanukkah) and list the twenty-four most popular titles.
Readers of Hunt’s website share their inspiring stories about how they personalized their holiday celebrations.
One family opened a box of memories, encouraging members to contribute thoughts on the past year and hopes for the future during the holidays. Every Christmas Eve, relatives open the box and reflect on their previous entries.
Debt-Proof Your Christmas features a treasure chest of holiday-enhancing websites, including an organization that distributes gifts to children in dire straits around the world, and a simple site that lets you bid on unclaimed items in living rooms. stolen police property. seasons
Hunt advises on Christmas tipping and charitable contributions. “The most reputable charities spend no more than twenty-five cents of every donated dollar on administrative costs.”
If affirmations inspire you, Hunt offers nine to help you avoid Christmas debt, including: “I’ll keep an eye out for December 26, when I intend to wake up knowing Christmas is paid for in full.”
Debt Proof Your Christmas will reign as your year-round benchmark for a meaningful, debt-free holiday season. Discover Hunt’s tips now to boost his ability to experience a cash Christmas this year.
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