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The Holiday season can come upon you before you know it and many consumers are caught completely off guard when it arrives. Christmas is a magical time of year but unfortunately it is also the time of year when most consumers find themselves going into debt. If you want to protect yourself from debt this Christmas, there are a few things that you can do to better control your finances so that the New Year does not find you completely broke.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when doing your seasonal shopping:
- Set a Budget – You simply have to know what you can afford to spend and make sure that you do not go over this amount. The only way to truly control finances is to stick with a budget. Set a budget for what you can afford and you can even go a bit under what you can comfortably afford. There is no reason that you have to spend all of your spare cash on gifts. Create your budget by jotting down how much you make in a month and then subtracting any debt that you pay each month. This left over amount is what you can afford. Set your spending budget to fit into this amount.
- Make Gifts – There is nothing at all wrong with homemade Christmas gifts. In fact, many people love receiving gifts that you have put time and love into creating. Think about what you can do to create gifts for coworkers, neighbors, teachers and even family members. Do you love to bake? Create bread or muffin baskets. You can put together a beautiful basket that recipients will adore and spend much less than what you would on a store bought gift.
- Go Cheap – There is also nothing wrong with buying inexpensive gifts. Look around to make sure that you are getting the best price possible. Go online and see what you can find on there that may meet your gift list needs. Buying second hand is also a good way to save and you can find many great second hand items at online auction sites. Instead of spending hundreds on a new laptop, consider buying a used or refurbished one and save yourself several dollars.
There is no reason why you should completely blow your budget and face heavy debt come the New Year. Keep these things in mind when doing your holiday shopping and see just how much you can save.
This article was written by Debt Free Me, a national company providing free advice on debt consolidation and other financial matters.