"Deck the halls with lots of debt. Falalalalalalalala." This isn't a real Christmas carol, but it's the song lots of folks will be singing after the big day is over. Are you ready to change your tune?
Celebrating the holiday season does not have to mean going into debt. Like lemmings rushing to the ocean cliff, many people hurtle themselves into the shopping fray and spend spend spend far beyond their means. They'll rack up large credit card bills that they are unable to pay 30 days later.
But not you. Step away from the fray. Follow these smart shopping tips and make your declaration of independence from holiday debt.
Hunt For Discounts and Deals
With so many discount and deal websites these days, you are bound to find something for everyone on your list at a fraction of the cost of regularly priced items. Many times you can even purchase hotel rooms and weekend getaways at more than half price when you choose less popular travel dates. A romantic weekend getaway makes a great gift for your significant other that both of you can enjoy once the Christmas rush has subsided.
Need a fruitcake? OK-right, nobody actually "needs" a fruitcake, but the point is that there's a coupon out there for one. Grocery stores have coupons to clip and coupon apps for all your holiday party needs. At this time of year, grocery stores often cater to your party menu by offering discounts and buy-one-get-one-free deals on popular food items like sugar and butter so you can make your famous Christmas cookies.
Shopping with coupons is a great way to make your food budget go further any time of year, and now is good time to get in the habit.
Think Practical and Affordable
This year Santa baby can hurry down the chimney with practical and affordable gifts for the baby on your Christmas list. A new mommy and her baby would certainly appreciate the useful gift of a play yard, bouncer, or swing. You can always check out sites like http://www.toysrus.com/buy/babies-r-us-exclusives/play-yards/ingenuity-deluxe-washable-play-yard-with-dream-centre-shiloh-60072-12761407 for a good deal.
You can even give gifts like these as a group gift from everyone in your family or all the women in your office.
Giving one larger gift from several people will not only make the recipient very happy, but also makes it manageable financially for all the givers, who otherwise might not be able to afford such essential items.
Gather A Group
Gifts don't always have to come wrapped in a box. An economical and creative gift for your children could be a wonderful experience like a concert, play, or visit to your local museum.
If you get together with neighbors or the parents of your kids’ friends, you may be able to get a group discount on tickets to an upcoming event that they are all begging to see. Many venues give discounts to groups of 10 or more, and also for purchasing tickets well in advance of the event.
No matter what your budget, you can still have a wonderful holiday season with friends and family. Try not to get too caught up in the hype that sends you careening down the rabbit hole of debt. Set a budget, shop wisely, and you will not only have a very special Christmas season, but you will be proud of yourself later when you are not strapped with a large credit card bill.