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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?

 

Spread the Word!
Christine Luken
 

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 30 comments
Robin (Masshole Mommy) - October 14, 2014

Those are great tips. I don’t have credit cards, so I am good 🙂

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Trisha - October 14, 2014

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!

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Ronnie - October 14, 2014

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.

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Kelli Avery - October 14, 2014

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!

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Melissa Carlisle - October 14, 2014

These are wonderful ideas. Thank you so much for putting this together. I truly believe it is important to be debt-free so maybe this will help some others get closer to that goal.

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AnitaB - October 14, 2014

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.

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Cathy Herard - October 14, 2014

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.

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Mama to 5 BLessings - October 14, 2014

Oh yes many get in over their heads at Christmas time with their spending on credit cards. We use our credit cards a lot for the rewards and then pay them off at the end of every month.

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maria @ close to home - October 14, 2014

IT is so important to start early and yes keep a list bc sometimes I will buy early and forget I bought something:)

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Lois Alter Mark - October 14, 2014

These are such good ideas. Credit card debt can definitely ruin the joy of the holidays.

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Jessica Beal Harlow - October 14, 2014

I am a big fan of layaways for my kids’ christmas gifts. I can manage my budget easier and I’m not left paying after the holidays!

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Maggie @ The Love Nerds - October 14, 2014

These are some great tips! This is always a goal for us.

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Nancy Lustri (StyleDecor) - October 14, 2014

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.

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Amy - October 14, 2014

I put money aside at tax time for Christmas. It is the only way I can afford things!

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Liz Mays - October 14, 2014

I try to start early and end early. I always see cute things after I’ve finished shopping but I make myself ignore them.

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Lisa - October 14, 2014

We shop early! I think I’m half done already!

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Elizabeth O. - October 15, 2014

Time and effort are surely two of the best presents!

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Danielle - October 15, 2014

Thank you for the great tips! We are pretty minimal with our shopping, and we don’t have any credit cards at all 🙂

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Giveaways 4 Mom - October 15, 2014

Great tips. This year around the holidays I am going to cut my cards if I have to so I don’t use them.

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Janeane Davis - October 15, 2014

These are good ideas for shopping all year long that will be beneficial to people.

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Rosey - October 15, 2014

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!

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Debi@ The Spring Mount 6 Pack - October 15, 2014

I never use credit cards for Christmas. I love layaway programs.

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Elizabeth O. - October 15, 2014

This list makes it easy to prepare for Christmas season.

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Lexie Lane - October 15, 2014

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?

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Rosie - October 15, 2014

Oh my gosh love this post! Starting early is the best way to get through, so I’m starting now!

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Debbie L. - November 22, 2014

Very good list of ways to be credit free after the holidays. We make sure to plan and never charge more that we can pay for on the next billing cycle.

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Mama to 5 BLessings - November 23, 2014

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.

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Lois Alter Mark - November 24, 2014

We put every single purchase on my credit card so we get points which have turned into some great vacations for us. We are very careful about only spending what we can pay off in full every month.

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Annie {Stowed Stuff} - January 4, 2015

Having no debt from holiday spending is huge in my book. I make it my job to not use credit cards and be mindful of the spending. After all is said and done, the frivolous spending is just so silly.

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