The holiday season is one of the best times of the year. If you’re on a budget or struggling with credit card debt, though, this time of year may leave you with a pit in your stomach. When getting from paycheck to paycheck is already a struggle, suddenly paying for gifts, seasonal outings, and high-end meals is enough to wreck a budget. With a few tips, though, you can limit the damage to your budget and put yourself in a good position for next year.
The team at Padgett & Robertson is here to help those who are plagued by insurmountable debt. If you want to explore your bankruptcy options, call us at 251-336-3695 to set up a consultation.
Set Firm Dollar Amounts
Be strict with your budget. Don’t start with gift ideas and then try to set a budget for them—start with a budget and then find gifts that fit the budget. This might mean you can’t get the exact gift you want for everyone on your list, but that’s better than going into unnecessary debt for a present. When budgeting, make sure to account for other Christmas expenses like gift wrap, lights, family outings, and stocking stuffers.
Use Gift Lists to Make Your Gifts Count
You likely have a good idea of what your loved ones want for Christmas but finding out exactly what they want can help you spend less while selecting a better gift. Free services like Giftster allow users to make gift wishlists, mark gifts as purchased on other people’s lists, and add items from other lists to their own. This makes it much easier to find gifts within your budget.
Consider a Secret Santa
Is buying for everyone in your friend group or family a little overwhelming for you? Broach the idea of a Secret Santa gift exchange with the group. While this does leave everyone with fewer gifts, it also allows each person to spend more on one special gift for the name they draw. It’s likely you’re not the only one in the group worrying about affording gifts this year, so you’ll be doing everyone a favor by bringing up the Secret Santa idea.
Put Your Credit Cards Away
It is so tempting to reach for your credit cards when it’s time to buy gifts, especially if you already have a balance on them. If you already owe in the thousands, what’s a few hundred more?
A few hundred more can add up to hundreds of extra dollars in interest as your balance carries over month after month. There’s a good chance you’ll still be paying on this year’s gifts when next Christmas comes around. Make a vow to yourself to only buy gifts that you can afford to pay for in cash. Again, this might mean scaling back—but it’s worth it if it saves your financial stability and your credit.
Use Your Skills and Hobbies as Gift Ideas
Not every gift has to come from a store. Perhaps you’re a renowned baker, a skilled knitter, or a talented painter. If you have special talents and skills, you may be able to use them to give meaningful gifts to the people you love. Make sure that if you go this route, you budget for the supplies and materials you need. Additionally, avoid packing your schedule too much with gift-making. You still want the holiday season to be enjoyable.
Get a Side Gig
Delivering for UberEats or Instacart, driving for Lyft, or picking up another side hustle can help you get a little extra for the holiday season. It’s easier than getting a second job since you have the freedom to decide your own hours.
Start Planning for Next Year
Avoid a stressful holiday season next year by planning for it as soon as this one is over. Look at how much you spent this year and then add holiday savings into your monthly budget for the new year.
Reach Out to Padgett & Robertson If Your Debt Is Too Much to Handle
If your debt has built up to the point that it is completely out of your control, it may be time to consider bankruptcy. Let’s meet and talk about your options and what comes next. Give us a call at 251-366-3695 or to schedule a consultation.