Preparing For a No Credit Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, in less than FOUR MONTHS. That’s right, it’s time to prepare yourself for the onslaught of marketing, merchandising, and mayhem. Are you ready? I said, ARE YOU READY?

Me neither. But, I have a plan of attack in place. Here we go:

1. Be sure that you have “gifts” or “Christmas savings” as a monthly budget-item. Do not try to wait until December to find money for gifts.

2. Make a LIST of all of the people you need to buy for, with a general idea of what you want to buy for them.

3. Start buying items now, before the Christmas rush sits in.

4. Shop SMART. Use sites like Dealnews and Fatwallet to find the best prices on items for sale.

5. Think about presents that are “year round” and not just winter specific. If you live in the South, do you really need a new, heavy-duty winter coat? How about a bicycle for the kids, or a pair swim trunks for that first summer swim? Think outside the box!

6. Talk to family members (especially those with kids) and have a plan for how you are going to divvy up present purchases. Are you going to swap names, or buy for everyone?

7. Number 6 follow up: Do NOT be embarrassed if you cannot give a costly gift. Make something, write something, or create something. Gifts do not have to cost money to be valuable.

8. Buy used toys, especially if you have little kids. They won’t care! Seriously, put it in a box with a bow, tape it up really well, and let them have at it.

9. Watch what you eat! (I believe that a majority of us over-eat during the holidays, costing us more money for food AND for new clothes.)

10. Remember the “Reason for the Season”. Don’t get caught up in the Christmas hype, and forget the CHRISTMAS reality.

Do you have more ideas? Leave a comment, or a link to your favorite Christmas-shopping blog post.

EDIT: Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever put Christmas purchases on a credit card. If you are trying to get out of debt, you do NOT need to slow your progress by adding to your debt balances.