Top Tips to Avoid Debt
Sometimes you want to show the people closest to you just how much they meant to you, especially over Christmas. And isn’t it a great feeling to treat people to something they’ve been eyeing up for a while or to buy them something lovely just to make them smile. Well this is all well and good and treating someone you love is great but nobody wants you to get into debt.
So here are my top tips to treating loved ones without getting into debt. If you feel like you are already in debt and need some help, you can always seek help from services like Citizens Advice.
Budget Budget Budget
Make a realistic monthly or weekly budget and stick to it. It’s more than ok to want to buy gifts and enjoy yourself, especially over Christmas or holidays but be realistic about what you can afford. Set yourself a limit and stick to it. If you’re buying for multiple people (likely) divide your overall budget up so you know just how much you can spend on each person. Being prepared and shopping in the sales, if you know what you’re looking for can help massively too. If you know you’re going on a big holiday, buy some items monthly so it doesn’t come out in one hit two weeks before you leave.
Don’t Borrow Money to Pay for Gifts
You might think that you can buy something on a credit or store card and pay it off over the following year, but I’ve always been brought up to think, if you don’t have the money, don’t buy it. It’s so easy to get carried away and spend, spend, spend when you have a credit card and end up in debt. You think you can pay for it with the next pay cheque but these things can soon get out of control and you end up owing more money than you can truthfully afford to pay back.
Make Something Heartfelt
Sometimes the most precious gifts are those which are made with love. I find that gifts for birthdays or Christmas, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, especially if they are coming from children, are often better if they are homemade. If you know someone who loves photos, why not make a scrapbook of their most precious pictures to gift to them?
It doesn’t have to be a homemade gift though, gifting your time to do something together like going for a walk each week or offering to help out with something like mowing the lawn every couple of weeks could be a really thoughtful gift which would be really wanted.
Upcycling something old to give it a new lease of life could also help you create something new without having to spend a fortune. Upcycling is great not only for your pocket but also for the environment too. Reducing waste and giving a gift is a perfect idea.
Secret Santa for adults (with budget)
It’s likely to be hardest to budget over Christmas so for the last 10 or so years my family and I have been doing Secret Santa (with a set budget) for all the adults. We found that this way you could actually spend a little bit more and get a really lovely gift for someone without spending the same on everyone. Each person in the family only has to buy for one other person making the shopping list shorter as well as the bill! We’ve tried various different takes on Secret Santa from a joke gift (when we were all really skint!) to buying randomly for your named relative but we now tend to buy something from a list so we know the gift is wanted and not going to be wasted.
With my work colleagues, we are actually taking the Secret Santa idea a step further. You have a limit of £5 and you MUST buy your gift from a charity shop. I actually love this idea. Not only can you get involved with Christmas without breaking the bank, you give back to charity and help the environment and actually shopping for the gift can be fun too.
So here are my top tips for not getting into debt (even over Christmas). Do you have any great tips? I’d love to hear them.