How to Have a Credit Card Free Christmas

How To Have a Credit Card Free Christmas

Yes, I know that the holidays are more than two months away!  But if you really want to have a credit card free Christmas, the time to plot your strategy is right now.  If you’d like to start 2015 without a Christmas credit card hangover – you remember the feeling – then take to heart the tips below.          

  • Make your list and check it twice.  Grab and piece of paper and write down the people for whom you typically purchase a Christmas gift.  Now it’s time to edit that list.  Are you buying for certain people out of guilt or habit?  I’ve noticed as the years pass and family members getting married and have kids, more and more people are added to our holiday shopping list.  (Somehow, no one ever seems to come off the list!)  Several years ago, we implemented either fun “white elephant” gift exchanges or began drawing names so that only one gift needed to be purchased per person.  Both sides of our families were happy and relieved to do this.  So if you are still buying for all of your cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, it’s time to initiate this conversation with your extended family.  When everyone’s pleasantly full of turkey and stuffing that’s usually a good opportunity. Chances are they’ve been thinking the same thing.

  • Make a budget for each person on your list.  Stick to it like glue!

  • Start setting aside money each week for Christmas shopping.  I’m not saying you actually have to start your shopping right now, unless you want to.  Transfer the money into a savings account so you don’t “accidentally” spend it on something else.

  • Consider shopping stores with layaway purchase plans for the holidays.  Recently, several large retailers like Wal-Mart have resurrected layaway purchase plans for the holidays.  You do your shopping, take your haul to customer service, and they put it in the warehouse for you.  You make regular payments on your layaway stash, and only take the merchandise home when it’s paid in full.  It’s like the anti- credit card plan!

  • Shop around.  If you wait until the last minute to do your shopping, you’re probably not going to have time to research your purchases and find the best deal.  You may be able to snag some Groupons or other deals and coupons to purchase your Christmas gifts at a nice discount.  No one but you needs to know that “Santa” scored a 60% off deal!

  • Give the gift of time or effort instead of the usual “stuff”.  Most homes in America are already overflowing with more stuff than we need or could possibly use.  Of course, kids always want  toys, dolls, Legos, and video games for Christmas, but most adults would appreciate a gift of time or effort instead of more stuff to cram in the closet.  If your friend or sister-in-law is a new mom, she’ll greatly appreciate a “gift certificate” for several hours of babysitting from you so she can have a much needed night out.  Your aging parent would probably enjoy an outing with you to the movies or a museum more than a gift card.  My step sister, Leah, always bakes my husband cookies for his gift.  Since he’s a sugar fiend, that’s one of his favorite presents.  We all have gifts and talents that other people would appreciate, so be creative!

What are some strategies that you use to keep your holiday gift budget under control?  Will you be having a Credit Card Free Christmas this year?

 

Comments 30

  1. We don’t have any credit cards so it will be a credit card free Christmas for us but these are some great tips for those who tend to shop using credit cards around the holidays!

  2. Really great ideas! As a frugal lady myself, I always try to cut back on gift expenses when necessary. I price compare online too and I’m constantly on the lookout for great deals, discounts and deals on particular items I want to gift.

  3. I never use credit cards for holiday shopping. I always create a budget and I’m pretty good at sticking to it. But I do shop all year and catch as many savings as I can along the way!

  4. This will be my 3rd Christmas without using a credit card! I can’t tell you the freedom that brings, it’s amazing. My armoire is already stuffed with gifts, I really only need a couple more now. I have been slowly getting what I need all year long.

  5. We don’t usually use credit cards for Christmas shopping and hopefully we won’t this year, either. I’m a major deal shopper and scour (usually the internet) for the best prices since that’s where I do a majority of my shopping….can’t believe we are already talking about budgeting for Christmas shopping. Oy.

  6. Great tips! Some people really can get into trouble with their credit cards. My hubby has an accounting undergrad, so his motto is (and I can hear him now), don’t buy it if you can’t afford it. Too funny, but he’s right. Your last tip is best! I always prefer to get something special or homemade and not store bought.

  7. I want to do the White Elephant thing. My MIL does not though, so we buy for everyone. I have to start early to make sure everyone gets something nice. Good tips here!

  8. My family’s quite big so we started doing the secret Santa thing. Then of course you get to spend your money on your immediate family because to be honest, there will be so many awesome things around that the little stuff almost doesn’t get appreciated at all, right?

  9. Every month we use our credit cards to pay most of our bills and use for daily living. We do this because we get rewards when we use it but that being said we pay it off every month. The key is not to go over board especially during the holidays.

  10. Pingback: How Many Savings Accounts Should I Have? - Christine Luken

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