More Gifts = Better Christmas?

Christmas, what is it really about?
I'm sure the last thing you are saying right now is "It's about getting the biggest, best, most expensive gifts!" Considering that thought, why do we feel as if we have to get gifts and they must be great, can't be cheap or inexpensive? If we don't feel that way than chances are our family and loved ones will understand if it is not within our budget to get the best of the best and in some cases, we may have to opt out of giving outside of our immediate family this time around. Your loved ones will understand you do not want to acquire debt and how do you think they would feel if they knew that's what it cost you in order for them to receive a gift? And when Christmas is over, none of it matters, and you are left either thankful you didn't overspend on gifts or you are swimming in debt wondering how on earth you will pay it.

"It's too late for me."
For some it's already too late; you've already run up your credit cards and you have to figure out how to pay it back. In that case, here are your recovery options:

Cut down
There are a variety of ways to cut your monthly expenses that will add up if you are determined to save.
  • • Make your own coffee (save $50 – $100 monthly)
  • • Negotiate your cable or consider another cable and/or internet provider (save $70 – $90 monthly)
  • • Leftovers for lunch – no eating out or limit yourself to once a week (save $100 – $200 monthly)
If you were to utilize even those few suggestions and implement them in your life you could save roughly $300 to $400 monthly – that's almost $5,000 a year! Those amounts can be applied to your credit card to get you back on track. Isn't it a relief to know there is an answer?

What about next year?
To eliminate the possibility of being in the same boat next year, start planning now. How much did you spend on Christmas this year? Divide that into monthly payments. 2012's predicted average amount spent on Christmas presents is roughly $900, that's $75 a month. Provided you cut back on your monthly expenses, surely you can afford to save some interest-free Christmas money for next year. If you put it off, you will have worked hard to rid yourself of last year's Christmas debt just in time to tack on some more. Do yourself a favor and make next Christmas stress-free so you can focus on what really matters and not stress on money or incurring debt. If you find it hard to discipline yourself, open a bank account at a different bank. Ask your employer to automatically deposit a portion of your paycheck into your new Christmas fund. The account should be free due to your automatic deposit.