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10 Ways To Avoid Christmas Debt
Christmas is not that far away. Can you believe that? Before we know it, there will be snow, carols, hot cocoa (yum!) and debt. So many people rely on credit cards to pay for Christmas gifts. But, come January, they are stuck with a huge bill. Instead of going into Christmas debt, learn how you can avoid it and still have a wonderful Christmas.
Bartering is making a come back. Get together with your friends and see what skills you can exchange to help cut down on costs. If you are a great photographer, offer to provide your photography skills in exchange for the mouth watering cookies your friend makes. Be creative and see how you can help each other out. You can take this a step farther and advertise is on local Facebook yardsale sites and see what other people are willing to offer.
I avoid Christmas debt by utilizing reward programs. I belong to several reward programs that pay with gift cards. I let the gift cards accumulate until I have enough to purchase a few gifts. On average, I receive $300 in gift cards each year. That sure puts a huge dent in my Christmas shopping!
Swagbucks, Inbox Dollars, Qmee and Ebates are my favorite options. Swagbucks is a search engine (just like Google or Yahoo) but each time you search, you have the chance to win Swagbucks. You can redeem the Swagbucks for gift cards or Paypal. You don’t win every time but it adds up quick. You can also earn Swagbucks for watching videos, taking surveys or participating in special offers.
Qmee is a browser extension that will occasionally pop up when you’re searching on Amazon or Ebay or any other retailer. If you click through to the suggested page, you will earn a few cents. It’s not much but it does add up to a couple extra bucks per month.
Inbox Dollars gives you the opportunity to earn money by reading emails, taking surveys and participating in tasks.
Ebates pays you directly via check or Paypal. Use Ebates when you are shopping online to earn cash back on your purchases. Put this money into a savings account for next year’s shopping.
I am not above giving presents that I bought at a yard sale or a consignment store. Last year, the majority of my daughter’s clothes came from purchases at a consignment sale. Make sure you check for stains and rips. Usually, I find the prices to be at least 75% off of retail costs.
If you like to shop online, check out Schoola for deals on children’s and women’s clothing. When you sign up you get a $15 credit to use across the site. If you refer a friend you both get a $15 credit!
I got into review products and books a few months ago. A lot of the items I’ve received can easily be given as gifts. I have managed to snag a few high dollar items this way. I know my daughter and family does not mind me giving a gift that was only used for testing. Now, this idea would not work for everything. See this post to learn how you can review products as well.
If you are a crafter, use your skills to make presents for your family or friends. Most people would appreciate a hand made item more than a store bought item. There are thousands of DIY ideas on Pinterest to get you started.
How many traditions do you follow at Christmas time? Do you bake cookies, decorate the tree, watch classic movies, send out cards or take family photographs? How many of those traditions do you enjoy? Make a list of all the traditions that your family participates in and see if anything can be cut. If you participate in cookie exchanges but find them to be a time and money drain, just opt out of it.
Shop Year Round
I don’t wait until Black Friday to begin shopping. Rather, I shop all year round. This gives me an advantage of picking up gifts at sale prices. This may not be a good idea for children’s clothing (how do they grow so fast?) but for toys and books and games, it a smart decision.
A Christmas gift list seems to get longer and longer each year. As people marry into your family and have children, gift exchanges may start to become a burden instead of joyful. If money is particularly tight, why not ask the adults if they would mind doing a secret Santa or skipping adults altogether. Chances are, they will probably be happy you brought it up first.
Give Necessary Gifts
If you’re going to be spending money anyways, you might as well give a necessary gift. Socks, underwear and bath products are always needed. If you coupon, shop from your stockpile for additional savings. One year, I bought laundry baskets from the Dollar Tree and filled them with bath wash, toilet paper and other products I purchased for cheap or free. They were a huge hit!
After Thanksgiving, do you dread the thought of decorating? Do you really NEED to decorate your house with a ton of lights? How high does your electric bill go up in December? Cut down on the amount you put up and you’ll save time and money. Decide what decorations are important to you (the tree is mine!) and cut out the rest.
What do you do to avoid Christmas debt? Share your tips and suggestions in the comments!
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