Tis the season again. I caught a news report the other night and they were discussing how much each person was going to spend on the holidays this year.
While there was a lot of optimistic people who felt things where improving and they were planning to spend more on gifts this year than last. What I found very alarming was that way over half of the people who they were interviewing responded to the question of how they were going to pay for all their buying and entertaining this holiday season.
Most of the folks said they either had no idea how they were going to pay for anything or they said they were paying for everything by maxing out their credit cards.
Some people had even gone so far as to get a new credit card just to run it up over the holidays. Do not do this. Paying for Christmas or any other holiday, trip or celebration on credit is a recipe for disaster.
Not to be a Scrooge, but Christmas needs to be another item that you plan and budget for all year. No one is going to enjoy the holidays having a whopping pile of debt waiting. Dreading the end of the month when your credit card statement shows up with all your purchase for the presents and the entertaining you are doing is not a pleasant experience. Your mind will always start worrying about how you are going to pay everything back. Big or small it is better to have a debt free holiday.
Try these money saving ideas to help with your next holiday or celebration. Christmas Cards — If it is not in your budget to send them that is OK people will understand. If you do send them, pick up your cards for next year right after the holiday when they are on sale. Send out an email to all your friends and family instead.
Wrapping Paper — Try colourful magazine pages for smaller gifts. For children wrap their gifts in old comic books. Use your child’s artwork to wrap presents from them it makes the gift more special. Decorating — Purchase any new items close to the holiday or even better after when the items can be found for a fraction of their original price. You do not have to have an extravagant tree and huge yard display. Do as much or as little decorating as you can afford or feel like doing. Make a tradition of picking one special ornament a year to add to your collection.
Food — Compare prices in the flyers and check for online coupons. Do not forget to go potluck with your friends, this helps everybody.
Sandra Nolan is a freelance writer from Rocky Mountain House. Her column will appear every other week in LIFE. Contact her at email@example.com.