How to Survive the Holiday Season Without Any Debt

The holiday season is one of the most expensive and stressful times for all of us, but especially for our wallets. If you don’t pay close attention to where your money is spent, you could find yourself with a painful, financial hangover come January 1st.

Here’s how to survive the holidays without incurring any debt or regret from overspending.

Make a “don’t buy” list.

Many of us have large, extended families, which means it just isn’t feasible to buy gifts for everyone on your list. Sometimes you need to make a “don’t buy” list just as much as you need to make a regular gift checklist.

Start by listing your closest friends and family first, then branching out from there until your budget is spent. That way your spouse, kids, parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews are all taken care of and any extra funds leftover can go to more distant relatives.

Avoid consumer debt traps.

The shopping industry is geared towards making us overspend and blow our budgets on a constant basis. If you really want to avoid taking on extra debt this season, avoid these comment debt traps:

  • 90 days same as cash
  • Department store credit cards
  • Low-interest offers
  • Free gift with purchase

While all of these options sound really good, they‘re intended to make you “buy now and pay later” which always has a tendency to make you overspend.

Something like a free gift with purchase may sound smart, but if you don't already intend to buy that item, you’ll just end up spending money you didn’t budget for.

Use layaway thoughtfully

Many stores have the option to put gifts, clothing, and toys on layaway. Meaning, you’ll pay a little money upfront and each week for the next few weeks, until the balance is paid in full.

However, you need to be careful when using layaway as an option, because they can charge high fees and lock you into the current price. So if you find a better deal elsewhere, you’re stuck. It’s a dangerous process if not used properly because it’s really easy to scoop up everything on your gift list and disregard the amount you can actually afford.

Of course, the best case scenario is to always pay for your purchases outright, with cash or a debit card.

Make extra money

With the increase of holiday shoppers, more jobs are needed to fulfill the additional needs and consumer demands.  And since so many companies hire additional workers during this season to compensate for the increase, which makes finding seasonal work a smart way to make extra money.

Check with companies like UPS or FedEx, Starbucks, or online retailers like Amazon, who all have a massive amount of orders to fill over the next few weeks. Another great way to make extra money is by doing odd jobs like installing Christmas decorations, wrapping gifts or doing holiday photography.

Use a coupon.

The team at is doing amazing things, just by using a coupon when you shop online. Yep, it’s that’s simple.

In the search box, type the name of the company or site you want to shop with, and then click the coupon that saves you the most money.  You save money and stay on budget.