Why Financially Preparing for Christmas Now Will Save You Thousands of Dollars

by Kevin on November 17, 2011

According to this infographic by Lab42, 37% of Americans are planning to increase their spending on Christmas this year. 31% of Americans also plan to spend at least $700 on gifts this year. Even with unemployment at highs across the country the holiday shopping season will continue to be retailers’ prime revenue generating season.

But how will that holiday spending impact your finances? If you don’t pay attention, your finances can take a real beating when the bills come due. Credit card balances always increase after the holidays, and then we spend the rest of the year paying off the balances. It’s a vicious cycle.

Change Your Christmas, Reap Rewards

Instead of waking up in January to a pile of credit card bills you can’t afford, consider changing your Christmas this year. Deciding to crush your debt next year isn’t a terrible decision, but limit the amount of damage you end up doing yourself. You’ll be much happier with a smaller Christmas bill, or better yet, no Christmas bill at all. Just think, the interest you pay on this year’s gifts could be spent on next year’s gifts. You can stop the cycle; you just have to dedicate yourself to change.

How to Make Christmas Different This Year

If you want to avoid the holiday spending hangover, decide what is really important to you and your family.

What do you value?

You and your family must decide what is truly important to you as a family.

Do you value less stress, less worry, and less stuff? Or are you embracing the American dream of bigger house and filling that house with stuff? Stuff is certainly nice until you have to pay for it.

Do you believe in your own success?

You can’t be motivated to spend less and pay off your debt faster if you don’t really believe¬†you will be successful. It can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you’re so deep in debt. But if you will take a few brave steps and trust you will be successful, you’ll get those first few victories that inspire you to finish.

What Happens If You Don’t Change Your Christmas Spending?

I can sit here and tell you over and over how big of a difference not spending as much money this year will have on your finances, but what are the consequences of not changing?

Same old debt cycle

If you don’t change your spending now, you’ll end up in the same debt cycle you find yourself in now. You’ll finance purchases you can’t afford. You’ll pay interest you can’t afford. And you’ll never break the bad habit of spending more than you earn.

Never getting ahead

A side effect of never breaking your bad debt habits is you will never get ahead financially. It is mathematically impossible to get ahead when you have nothing to get ahead with. If you spend more than you can afford to, you’ll always be going backwards.

Never comfortable

If you never get ahead financially, you’ll never be comfortable. You will always be one emergency away from financial ruin or one layoff from the poorhouse.

Don’t let these things happen to you. Cut back on Christmas this year. Focus on what is most important: that which can’t be bought. Time with family, memories, and relaxation.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Bryan November 17, 2011 at 9:12 am

So bascially, your advice is “don’t buy anyone gifts” & tell your family “my love & your memories are more important?”

And you wonder why people accuse financial bloggers of not giving real world advice….

Reply

Kevin November 17, 2011 at 9:21 am

LOL!

If that’s how you read it, then great. That’s some serious reading between the lines.

No, what I’m saying is a majority of Americans are broke as a joke. They are one emergency away from the poorhouse. So if you’re in that situation and decide that spending hundreds of dollars you can’t really afford on “stuff” is more important than shoring up your financial situation, then yes I would say you are making a mistake.

If you wonder why financial bloggers get accused of not giving real world advice, I assure financial bloggers wonder why everyone else in this country is in debt up to their eyeballs, but amazingly enough they have a big screen TV, toys all around, and two financed cars in the garage…

Take it or leave it. Stay on the current path of being broke if you like. I’m going to continue to encourage my readers to avoid that disaster and lie of American culture. Maybe someone else will be moved to change their situation for the better.

Reply

Shaun @ Smart Family Finance November 22, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I think most people just need to be paying attention to their spending and make a plan ahead of time, then stick to it. Of all times of the year, I’m hesitant to make Christmas the time of ultra frugality. But, I’ve known people who easily over-do it. Christmas shopping is just like going to the grocery store. If you aren’t paying attention you will overspend.

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