Easing Christmas Debt

Posted by andres.valenzuela on Friday November 16, 2007

The holidays will soon be here! Although our hearts are usually bigger than our wallets, it's important for all of us to manage our money during the season, especially students with limited income. The key to holiday shopping is to set some ground rules for your self. These tips may seem straightforward, but they will help you plan and manage your spending.

Set a budget before you start shopping and then stick to it, no matter how many great bargains you find.

Keep your receipts for all of the holiday gifts in one handy place. If you've gone over your budget and just can't bear to return some of the great bargains you've found, then at least put them away for a birthday or the next holiday season.

Don't forget about homemade gifts. Holiday decorations and crafts make wonderful gifts that last a lifetime. Almost everyone enjoys a nice tray of colorful cookies during the holiday season. The true meaning of the holidays is to spend time with friends and family. Racking up debt is not a part of the holiday spirit.

If you have a large family, you can draw names to exchange gifts instead of having every person in the family giving to everyone else.

Give gently used gifts such as books from thrift stores. It is OK to re-gift an item you haven't used.

Cut your gift list. Are there people you exchange gifts with out of habit even though you are no longer close? Suggest to them that you are on a budget this year and would prefer to only exchange cards or token gifts such as cookies or candy.

Give coupons for gifts of your time or for privileges. You can give coupons for things like:
Free car wash and detail
One pizza and a movie night
Free garage cleaning
Family fun night — parent's choice
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