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    Categories: Finance

How to Enjoy a Debt-Free Christmas

Paying for Christmas is a big deal, and often bigger than we can manage. Recent research has found that around 23% of Australians and many more around the world – around 11.6 million people – are still struggling with Christmas debt 11 months later. Most people borrow money to pay for gifts and food over the festive season. Unfortunately, they are not always able to repay it straight away – or even at all. To avoid going into debt, you can employ some key tactics that save you money. Here’s how to have a Christmas without borrowing.

Start Early

If you are prepared ahead of time, you can find bargains and spread the cost out over several months. Often, the big problem with Christmas is having to spend all of that money at the same time. If you start with the summer sales, you won’t hit your bank account so hard. You can find big bargains on items like toiletries during this time. While they may be generic gifts, this makes them perfect for giving away to friends and family members whose tastes you aren’t sure of. You can keep a stock of these kinds of items which gathers throughout the year ready to send out for Christmas.

Shop Local

There are plenty of deals around to help you save, and the American Express Shop Small campaign is certainly one of those. You will get the chance with this campaign to gain cashback so long as you shop local. Once you get onto their website you can see a list of participating shops in your area. For every $20 you spend there, you will get $10 back onto your card. That makes everything you buy in that range effectively half price. What’s more, if you are buying for family who live out of town, you can get them something unique that they will really appreciate, as the chance they have seen it before will be slim.

Create Your Own Presents

If you have a crafty side, why not make presents to give away? They don’t have to be fancy or complicated. It’s always the thought that counts. For example, if you know someone who has had a tough year, you can make them a box of positive thoughts. Write or print out lots of positive phrases, fold them up, and put them inside a plain present box. You can paint the outside of the box, fill it with glitter or fake flower petals, and spray perfume inside. It will bring a smile to their face whenever they need it.

Hit The Charity Shops

You’d be surprised what you can find in charity shops, from Christmas cards, board games to Christmas trees it’s one place you can pick up a bargain whilst also contributing to a great cause. People have even found famous paintings worth a lot of money in charity shops, they really can be full of surprises. Another great thing about charity shops is that they usually have a real range of items from the really young, to the really old meaning you don’t have to go from shop to shop to find presents for people in different age brackets.

Bundle In Together

Finally, if you are sharing the holidays with family, make it a real get-together. Ask everyone to chip in a portion of the full amount and you can have a big Christmas meal together at a lower overall cost. You always save when you buy in bulk!

You don’t have to break the bank to have a good Christmas. With careful planning, you can enjoy the season in full and avoid debt altogether.

Anne Lawson: Anne Lawson is a British writer who keeps her eye on business and trending issues that affect us all. She loves to delve into the real story and give us interesting tidbits we might otherwise miss.