So if you read my last post, you know that I took a debt free Christmas pledge this year. I truly hope I’m not the only one because I know firsthand how sucky it is to be stuck paying for presents when the holidays catch up to me the following year. It isn’t an easy journey, but here are 5 more tips to get you through the holidays debt-free.
4. Stack Rewards – If you have store loyalty cards, earned rewards, or coupons now is the time to use them. When you combine sales with coupons, cash in rewards from credit cards or have discounts you earned through your loyalty cards this is a great time to pull them all out of your hat to save a bunch of cash. Also don’t forget to turn in any mail in rebates for your holiday purchases.
5. Shop Online – So I’m expecting to get some flack from the avid Black Friday shoppers out there who live for the thrill of the bargain hunt, but I believe something about the adrenaline filled spree to elbow others out of the way for that great deal brings out the animalistic nature in us to outdo the rest of the pack. I think it creates a mob mentality that pushes us to buy things we might not normally buy simply because we don’t want someone else to get “our great deal.” Shopping online reduces competition spending, saves on gas, and many times you can score free shipping with a minimum order amount.
6. Use the Internet to score cash back or discounts. Signing up for Ebates lets you earn a percentage of cash back just for going through their site to find the retailer site you want to shop at. During the holidays a lot of the cash back rates have been doubled. A quick internet search could yield you promo codes you can use online or coupons you can download to your smart phone or print.
7. Pull out your gift cards. Ok I don’t care if this earns me a bad mommy rap, but I’ll share a secret with you. When my kids get gift cards for their birthdays I silently tuck them away. They usually have so many other presents they don’t even notice and it helps us pay for presents for Christmas. If you have gift cards you or your kids accumulated during the year, now’s the time to use them to reduce your holiday spending. Speaking of gift cards, this time of year many restaurants have special deals on gift cards. You can also check out sites like Cardpool that sell gift cards at discounts of up to 35%.
8. Share the cost. If a family member has their eye on an expensive gift see if another family member will split the cost with you. Also share your kids wish lists with family and friends. There’s no rule that says you have to get all the items yourselves and many times grandparents and aunts and uncles appreciate not having to guess what your child wants. Just be sure to give a few options in different price ranges to be respectful of whatever amount they have decided to spend.
I think we forget how truly blessed we are in this country. If you have a roof over your head, food in your belly, your health and the love of family and friends, then we are truly blessed. Getting and giving gifts is great as long as it doesn’t mean acquiring a load of debt we can’t repay.