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5 Tips for Avoiding Debt Over the Holidays

As December approaches, many parents are anxious about how they are going to pay for holiday-related expenses without going into debt. It is important that you don’t let yourself get caught in the trap that you must spend a significant amount of money over the holidays.  This article identifies five key tips to avoid getting into debt over the holidays.

1. Holiday season should be more about family than things

My fondest memories of the holiday season as a child was spending quality time with family and friends.  This would include the traditional family dinner, building a snowman with my cousins, and working on a puzzle with my grandmother and my mother.  I don’t remember most of the gifts that I received during my childhood, but I do remember the traditional activities.  Parents can often take advantage of inexpensive events or free activities in their community over the holiday season, such as ice skating at a local arena.

2. Work within a realist budget for holiday expenses

One of the key principles of avoiding holiday debt is to set a realistic budget and to keep it.  It is very helpful to set a budget for gifts for everyone on your list and stick to it.

3. Get a part-time job over the holiday season

You might find yourself in a position where you spend more during the holidays than you otherwise might be able to. Obtaining part-time work in December will help with some of those extra expenses. There are usually season positions in December—particularly in the retail industry—to earn extra income.

4. Planning Holiday Vacations

Families try to make the most of the holiday season as the kids are out of school. One mistake that many Canadians make that leads to debt after the holiday season is a major expense like a winter vacation. There are ways to still go on the winter vacation and not break the bank. Vacations don’t always have to be sunny beaches, but can be weekend getaways. Choosing a place where you have family members will help you save on accommodations and will free up some money for meals, activities, and entertainment, allowing you to make the most of the vacation. As well, you will be able to spend some extra time with family that you may not see as often.

5. Make your holiday dollar go further

There are plenty of ways that a person on a limited budget can shop for family members over the holidays.  Start your holiday shopping early. People always leave it to the last minute and often spend more money as they are on a time crunch. By starting early, you can keep an eye out for deals and bargains that stores are having before and during the holiday season.

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