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What should you do to avoid holiday debts?


You may not like to hear the sound of “Jingle Bells" in any stores near you before the Columbus Day. But, if you think seriously, it’s actually a favor to you by the retailers. If you delay your shopping to the last minute, you may encounter a holiday debt cycle and end up spending beyond your budget. You may need to use your credit card to pay extra bills during most of the following year.

Let us read on some expert strategies that may help you to start this new year without a holiday debt over your head:

1. Redeem rewards for gift cards - When is the last time you checked your reward balances? Do it now, it may give you a jump-start while shopping in this holiday. If you have a good amount of rewards in your pocket already, consider paying bills by using these reward balances. Trust me, they work pretty well. Many stores will allow you to redeem reward points for your purchases. But, don’t forget to order these gift cards as soon as possible as they could take some time to reach you.

2. Use DIY gifts - By using several household goods and scraps, you can make your own gift items, all by yourself. They might not be expensive, but they do look fabulous. It’s a waste of a talent or hobby if you don’t share your true potential with others. Talents including knitting, graphic design, painting, and others can help you to make your friends and family smile. So, pick up ordinary things and use them to prepare master pieces and send them to your loved ones. By this way, you can save money and also share the holiday essence with others.

3. Don't fall into the trap - You might have seen that different promotional fliers and emails will come with a huge discount and offers just before the holiday season starts. But, that's no reason for you to pull up your socks and go out for shopping now. Take your time and check all current prices of the products you are interested in buying. Check out some apps like SlickDeals Price Tracker, Camelcamelcamel (you can get Amazon prices here) and PriceZombie. By checking the prices, you can monitor any fluctuating price level and compare those prices with the offer prices given by the stores.

Some stores also offer an interest-free layaway program, it can be a great opportunity for you to shop early while managing your budget. The stores will allow their customers to pay a little later, in case the customers are buying several big items at a time. Don’t always go to the same store, try to shop at different outlets. Spreading out your purchases will help your cash flow. Also, you can cut off any retailer from your shopping list.

4. Create a budget for holidays - People on an average spend $800 during the holiday season. You might need to save $8 per day for 100 days till the holiday season unless you won’t have any money in your hand to spend. To know your holiday budget, first, know how much you can afford from your pocket, then sum up the value of your products. Don't forget to add tiny expenses like cost of cards and postage, rather you can use free e-cards.

5. Maintain your affordability - It sounds simple when we call it, but do we really follow it? Don’t buy gifts, which your friends want from you, always look into your wallet and buy the one you can happily afford. Surely, we want to show our love and generosity by giving gifts. But don’t forget, being financially stressed is a bigger price to pay just to show your generosity to others.

So, instead of buying for everyone, pick some special friends or relatives, don’t forget your parents by the way. You can choose another option, buy gifts only for the kids of your family. It will make those kids really happy, and they'll feel special in this Christmas season.

Taking these steps now will help you avoid the crazed holiday crunch that often leads to foolish impulse buys.

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