Break the cycle
By Derrick Johnson
When it comes to holiday spending, Christmas is by far the biggest shopping season of the year. Last year, over 1.6 billion dollars were spent during Christmas alone. The biggest issue with holiday spending is the debt incurred—statistics say the average person racks up over $1,000 in debt and takes three-to-five months to pay it off.
Unfortunately, this has become a perpetual cycle for most people, and it becomes the norm to incur holiday debt. Christmas was never meant for people to go into debt, yet a vast majority of people experience what is referred to as “a holiday hangover” from the regret of spending.
Don’t misunderstand me, the problem isn’t gift-giving, for we know the tradition of gift-giving started with the wise men who brought gifts to Jesus. The issue is lack of discipline and the excessive spending that comes with it.
To break the perpetual cycle of radical spending, you must first have a focus on finances. The better your focus, the better your financial situation will be after the holidays. Here are some tips for avoiding holiday debt hangovers.
- Start saving and setting aside money earlier in the year for holiday purchases. Preparation and planning are key. Christmas comes the same time every year, so it pays to be prepared.
- Create a budget for everyone you need to buy for, and stick to it. It’s very easy to go over budget when you are tempted with the impulse buying days of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.”
- I’m not a big fan of financing, but if you need to finance a purchase, never finance something that you cannot afford to pay for. Also pay attention to the 0% APR offers. Although they may seem appealing, the penalties can be pretty severe if the balance isn’t paid before the grace period expires.
The Christmas season was never meant for people to rack up a bunch of debt. It was meant to be a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, which is the biggest and best gift our heavenly Father could have given us, because through Jesus we receive the greatest gift of all, our eternal salvation.