How to Avoid a Holiday Debt Hangover This Season

No matter how much you might rail against the consumerism you think the holiday season has come to represent, you still have to admit that there’s really no escaping it. We’ve all got a lot to take care of when the holidays roll around every year, and that’s a simple fact. No man is an island, and as such we’ve all got at least a few people for whom we’ve got to find gifts, and there are always a few extra expenses that come along with entertaining or participating in whatever get-togethers come along with those colder winter months. When the weather cools down and the days get shorter, it’s great to get together and celebrate the friendships and relationships with the family members and people you love the most…but this isn’t exactly free. We always wind up spending a pretty significant chunk of change when the holiday season rolls around, and it’s not uncommon for individuals to find themselves starting the new year with a whole lot of debt, and a few new resolutions to go along with it. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Successfully navigating the holiday season takes a little bit of financial savvy, but by adopting the right habits and using the proper tools to help yourself through it, you can definitely come out ahead and start the new year off in the black. We’ll talk about some of the best ways to avoid that “debt hangover” this holiday season, so you can pre-emptively check some of those new year’s resolutions off your list.

One of the best ways to make sure you keep that spending under control is the tried and true method of making and sticking to a budget. Sit down and think of everything upon which you’re going to need to spend money this holiday season. List of all the people for whom you’re going to want to buy gifts. If your financial situation is pretty demanding — which, for many of us, it is — then don’t be afraid to cross a few names or two off your list this year. You might not feel too great doing it, but you can always practice the “Buddhist Christmas” and give them a random gift when you find yourself coming into a little extra cash down the road.

Don’t spend any money you don’t actually have this holiday season. Avoid using your credit card — it’s a trap! If you can make it through the season without relying on any funds that you don’t actually have for yourself, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to start the new year debt free. Now’s the time to get good at doing this kind of thing, so you don’t have to start 2013 going to debt management counseling classes. It’s not too hard to escape the holidays debt-free, and with the right strategies, you can make sure that you’re in the black and financially set when the new year rolls around.

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