Even before epic inflation settled over the U.S., the most wonderful time of the year can also be the most expensive and stressful period for many adults.
Overspending could be one reason many people dread the holidays and the debt hangover that often lingers long after. It’s not just you. A recent report from Bankrate.com found that more than one-quarter of those surveyed (27 percent) say they will go into debt for purchases made during the holidays in 2022.
It’s possible to avoid overspending AND enjoy the holidays just as much — if not more — than visions of oversized credit card bills dance in your head. Here are some strategic ways to stay out of debt this holiday season:
Understand You’re Not Alone
Many people feel the squeeze of inflation every time they pay at the pump or swipe a debit card for groceries. Although it may not seem like it, your friends and family are likely in the same boat too.
Get a Side Hustle
There are many businesses cutting store hours because they can’t find enough workers to stay open as late as they used to. This is a perfect opportunity for you to consider a part-time job to supplement your income. Bookstores, coffee shops, and most retail centers hire additional staff during the holidays. One or two extra shifts a week may be just what you need to boost your holiday budget.
Set Spending Limits With Friends and Family
Consider using a Thanksgiving gathering as an opportunity to plan ahead for how you will handle the winter holidays. Instead of a marathon gift-giving session, you could decide to draw names for gifts. You could set a spending limit or come up with other ways to enjoy the holidays without maxing out your credit cards. Santa parties, cookie (or wine) swaps, and ornament exchanges are fun ways to spend less and still spread holiday cheer.
Create a Personal Holiday Budget
Here’s a fun money-saving tip. Do a search for “holiday budget calculator,” then use the calculator to determine your holiday spending. Before you buy a single gift, make a list of everyone you want to buy for, figure out how much you can spend on each person, and then stick to the budget.
Heartfelt gifts or gifts of your time can be a blessing to others. The new mom in your life may just love an afternoon to herself. Watching her little one while she gets some alone time outside the house is an inexpensive gift that goes a long way.
Use Your Gift Cards
The amount of money left on gift cards every year is in the billions. Yes, that’s billions with a B. Don’t let a gift card go unused. Instead, use it to buy a gift for someone on your list. Or, in a pinch, give the card to someone who might really appreciate it.
With reporting by Casandra Andrews