5 Easy Ways to Have a Debt Free Holiday

Nov 26, 2021
Stay Debt Free this Holiday

Thanksgiving has come and gone and Christmas lights are up in the neighborhood. Hoorah! Honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with Christmas time. My family has (affectionately) called me the grinch on many occasions.

I love visiting with my family since they don’t live close to me. I love the time off work to reconnect to myself, my goals, and my spirituality. I love the traditions of good food, fun, and holiday cheer. I love getting more opportunities to give back to the communities that give to me all year long.

With all that, there is so much that upsets me this time of year. The pressure to buy a better gift or get someone exactly what they want. The expectation to make your home, decor, food, gift wrapping all look like it came out of a Pottery Barn catalog. It’s all too much!

Retail marketing will tell you: It’s about giving and being grateful. Ironically most of their ads GIVE me anxiety, guilt, & jealousy. But not this year, no siree! Trust me, with a little pre-planning and thoughtfulness it is possible to stay on your financial path this year!

How to Have a Debt Free Holiday

Over the years, I’ve slowly incorporated more of these tips into my holiday shopping routine. Pick one (or more) this year to keep more money in your pockets and less stress in your days!

Plan Ahead

Sinking funds are savings accounts with a specific future purpose. Many people start their Holiday Sinking funds in January. If you get paid bi-weekly, here’s another strategy. In October or November, you’ll receive an extra-paycheck. Earmark this baby to fund your holidays!

Whatever your system is, stick to it and track ALL the spending. Tracking spending on gifts is easy, but many people forget to factor in the travel, food, drinks, hostess gifts, or even the clothing costs — because let’s face it- who doesn’t want a new outfit for those family photos?

Use Rewards & Price Matching

Who doesn’t love a good deal?! But buyer beware… those extra points, percent off and free shipping doesn’t always mean you’re getting a steal. They designed these discounts to hook you into buying more. So go in with a plan.

I’m a big fan of places where I can get cash back either by using my credit card or another system. I use Rakuten because they give me cash back on purchases I would make anyway. I earn about $120 every year, enough to pay for Netflix! I also have the Chase Amazon credit card for 5% back on my Amazon purchases. This is key to buying & sending gifts to family living in 4 different states. Last year, I cashed in on a Chase card offer to get over $1200 in travel rewards ! Chase is offering an even better promo this year, so check it out!

What’s a Price Match?

Are you an early shopper? Then don’t sleep on price matching!

Stores will match lower prices and PAY YOU back the difference! For example: you buy a TV at Costco for $500 and then a week later that TV is on sale for $350. Bring your receipt to Costco customer service and they’ll refund you $150!

Don’t spend your precious time researching when you can get the scoop all in one place! Download your free 2021 Holiday Price Matching Guide and put money in your pocket this season. We’ve included all the details on each policy and links to the fine print to save you valuable time and money!

Talk About It

Remember when you were little and could write to Santa and magically you would get what you wanted?  Or some semblance of it anyway. We need to communicate our feelings and expectations to our family and friends. This helps us prepare and compromise. Everyone I know has different views and comfort levels about how the holidays should go. Talk to your family and friends about both of your expectations for food, celebrations, sharing space, travel and gifts. How much you are planning to spend? How much are they planning? What happens when you lay it all out on the table might surprise you!

Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude has a myriad of benefits including

  • health
  • relationships
  • happiness
  • confidence
  • and yep, even your ability to make money!

December is a wonderful time to start a daily gratitude practice that you can keep up all year long. Write down 3- 5 things every day. Use that cell phone you’re looking at to set a reminder right now. Take a moment to show appreciation to the universe. What makes the list might surprise you!

Focus on Experiences

Experiences trump things almost every time. For real, look it up! There is a lot of science behind this one. Turns out our brains are really great at adaptation — so that ‘cool new cell phone’ will turn into ‘that same old cell phone’ quick! Our brains also like to compare and that can be a big bummer. Ever get excited by a new something (car, purse, shoes) and when your friend gets a newer, better version of that thing, you feel deflated? This is just how our pesky brains work.

Great experiences have a better chance at staying great in our brains. Think about that romantic picnic you had with your partner or that funny family dinner. Those experiences stay romantic and funny in our memories. It’s also harder to compare experiences with each other.

Another bonus, we often have experiences with other people. Our brains thrive on these types of social connections. Experiences are also super affordable. Think picnics, ice skating, hot coco, taking a hike or tour — win win win!

Need more convincing? Here's more explanations from touristmaker.com

Infographic: Experiences vs things | TouristMaker | Infographic, I wish i  knew, Science teaching resources

Have a Happy & Healthy Season

Whatever your 2021 holidays look like, I hope you can use these tips to make it delightful and debt free! I promise you that paying the interest that comes around in January isn’t worth it. Your ability to stay on path with your dreams and goals is worth much more than trying to impress those around you . Because here’s the *news flash* they already love you and spending more money on them wont change that.