For many people, this week marks the official beginning of the holiday season. With Black Friday just around the corner, millions across the United States will participate in the mad dash to find the perfect gift for loved ones, the perfect holiday outfit, or other financial splurges. While this uptake in commercial spending is great for the retail world, it can be detrimental to your wallet. Going into debt over the holidays is not uncommon; in some cases, it may take months to recover. But holiday shopping doesn’t have to be this way. It is possible to show your friends and family you care without breaking the bank. Mufson Law, your source for debt solution in Delray Beach, offers these 10 tips for a debt-free holiday season.
You’ve heard it time and time again, but staying within your budget is key to avoiding the pitfalls of holiday-related debt. For some, this includes beginning to save months in advance, or even taking on temporary part time jobs to increase one’s income. Whether than scrambling for a debt solution in Delray Beach in the new year, making wise choices now can protect your financial well-being.
Creating your holiday budget is easiest when you have specific gifts in mind for each person on your list. Wandering malls and window shopping can lead to some ill-advised purchases you may regret later. Instead, think practically: you don’t have to go broke to prove you care. Set a hard limit for your holiday spending that is within your budget and make sure to keep track as you shop. Some charges may take longer to process during the holiday season, and you don’t want any nasty surprises later.
Take Advantage of Sales and Coupons
Forward planning also includes where, when, and how you shop. We all know that Black Friday can offer some great deals, but more and more Americans are also taking advantage of Cyber Monday. Falling on the first Monday after Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Cyber Monday offers some of the best online shopping deals of the year. In many cases, these sales may be better than in-store promotions.
Not participating in Black Friday or Cyber Monday? They aren’t your only way to save money this holiday season. Money saving apps like Shoptagr will send you a notification when your desired items are restocked and on sale. Honey and RetailMeNot offer web extensions to find the best coupon codes, while Ibotta may allow you to get some cash back for purchases. Take advantage of modern technology so you never spend more than necessary.
Experiences Over Material Goods
When it comes to gifts, we often immediately think of gadgets, trinkets, and other material things our family and friends may enjoy. While there’s nothing necessarily wrong with this, these gifts can quickly turn into unused clutter. One great debt solution in Delray Beach is to look for experiences rather than material gifts. Things like concerts, theatre, or comedy shows are great holiday gifts with the added bonus of giving you a little extra time. If a show is in the distant future, simply create a beautiful certificate to present as a promise for great fun to come.
Experiences aren’t limited to shows, either! If your loved one is a fan of the great outdoors, treat them to a day of kayaking or hiking at one of our beautiful state parks. If they’re more attuned to the metaphysical, consider a trip to a reiki healing center or full moon drum circle. Whatever you choose, schedule your plans out well enough that they don’t place too much strain on your budget.
Don’t Try to Stun Everyone
Your friends and family know you love them. You don’t have to buy the most expensive, extravagant gift on each of their lists. It’s true when they say it’s the thought that matters—especially if the alternative is going into debt. Get a list of potential gifts for each person, or limit yourself to a set amount for each gift so there’s no sense of favoritism. If there’s something really important on someone’s list, consider pitching in with a group to make the gift more affordable.
Handmade gifts are underrated. Taking the time to make someone you love a gift is an act of love that can’t be bought in stores. Whether you are a seasoned knitter, paint as a hobby, or try your hand at a craft for the first time this year, the time and effort is appreciated. Plus, handmade gifts are often the more affordable option for staying under budget. It can be easy to forget who bought what, but every time your loved one wears their new scarf or looks at the painting you’ve done, they’ll think of you with a smile.
Take Advantage of Free Events
Celebrating the holidays isn’t about gift giving. This time of year has some of the best attractions and events across South Florida. While some of them can be a drain on your wallet, keeping an eye out for free family fun events can make this holiday season even more special. Avoid needing a debt solution in Delray Beach by taking your family out to free parades, holiday light displays, or public concerts. They are listed on online community bulletin boards, in Facebook events, or at local parks. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to find good parking!
Hosting a get together during the holidays? Instead of splurging on groceries and party supplies yourself, make it a potluck party! Invite each attendee to bring their favorite dish. For those who aren’t so skilled in the kitchen, bringing disposable plates and cutlery is also a great way to contribute. Hosting a party this way is not only a great way to save money, it takes some of the stress off of your shoulders, too. Just make sure everyone is aware of any potential allergies and what items are already being supplied to avoid confusion.
Let Go of FOMO
FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is one of the biggest contributors to holiday-related debt. We want to attend all the parties and events, and look amazing while doing it. Spending hundreds on new holiday outfits, tickets, gas, parking, and other going out expenses is the fastest way to wind up needing a debt solution in Delray Beach. It’s okay if you can’t make an event or two. There will be others. On the bright side, taking time to yourself is a vital form of self-care during the holidays.
Keep Track of Expenses
This tip is valid throughout the entire year, but especially during the holidays. The heavy influx of sales and transactions during this time may cause delays in charges hitting your account. If you rely solely on what your account balance says, you may wind up overdrafted and in debt. Instead, create your holiday shopping budget and keep track of your final expenses, including whether you went over or under. This will also help you identify fraudulent activity in your account like double charging or hidden transactions card scammers may try to slip in. It may seem tedious, but your future self will thank you.
Avoid Payday Loans
Companies like Amscot and other cash advance businesses thrive during this time of year. They know you’re desperate to get out and shop, so they offer short-term loans to tempt you. Don’t fall for it; the fees can quickly add up, leaving you in a payday loan cycle to try and stay afloat. These services should only be used sparingly and in emergencies. Even then, only take out as much as you can afford to repay without stressing your budget. It’s always better to miss a sale or go without that cool new gadget than to get trapped in debt.
If you are struggling with debt, Mufson Law may be able to help. Our extensive knowledge of financial law means we can help you find the perfect debt solution in Delray Beach.