How To Navigate The Holidays While In Debt
When you think about it, attempting to navigate the holidays while in debt can be both stressful and embarrassing. On one hand, you’re proud of yourself for taking the necessary steps to get out of debt. On the other hand, you’re embarrassed to tell people that you do not have money to participate in all of the festivities this year.
Debt makes things so hard! You still want to have fun and hang out with your friends, but you know that your money can only stretch so far. Gift giving funds are limited and your presence at events that cost money will be nonexistent. Adding additional debt during this holiday season is not an option either, so how do you navigate the holidays while debt?
Create A Budget
Create a budget for the holiday season. Your budget is an essential tool when trying to navigate the holidays while in debt. The budget is the plan that you create for spending your money. During the holiday season, it is very important to tell your money where to go, not try and figure out where it went later.
Set your holiday budget, and stick to it. This means consulting your budget before making any purchases, and sometimes having to say no. Saying no to certain events or purchases is no fun, but getting further into debt is also no fun.
If you have not created your budget for the upcoming holidays, get started today. If you are unsure of where to start, try You Need A Budget for free for 34 days. The trial period is long enough to get you through the holidays and if you decide to purchase, the software more than pays for itself. Give it a try today!
Pay For Purchases With Cash
Paying cash for purchases is a sure way to avoid debt when going through the holidays. With cash, you can’t spend money that you don’t have. When you create your budget, go to the bank to withdraw cash before making purchases. This will serve two purposes.
The first one is creating more time to think about the purchase. You will be less impulsive if you have to go to the bank before buying something. There will be time to ask yourself if you really need this item, or if it can wait until you save more money.
The second purpose is that it is harder to watch cash leave your hand than swiping a card. Using debit cards often feels like money is infinite because you never actually see cash exchange hands. This could be a likely reason that you are in debt in the first place.
This holiday season, take the extra time to use cash for your purchases. You may realize that the cash exchange makes you less impulsive and more intentional with your money.
Make Quick Cash From Side Hustles
Side hustles during the holidays are a quick way to make extra cash. The time is winding down for earning extra money, but it is still possible to do. Use the money that you make from side hustles to fund your holiday expenses.
A few quick side hustles that you could work on and get paid pretty quickly are user tests and taking surveys. My favorite user test site is UserTesting. On this site, you sign up to test new or redesigned websites and you get paid for your thoughts. The payout is small (think $3-$10) per test, but if you work at it for a couple of days, this adds up. User Test pays exactly seven days after the test is taken. Sign up for User Test here.
Another side hustle option is Swagbucks. Swagbucks is an online rewards site that pays users to perform a variety of online activities. These activities include searching the internet, watching promotion videos, shopping online, and taking surveys. There are many ways to earn money using Swagbucks and users are paid via gift card to popular stores like Amazon and Walmart. They even offer an option for a Paypal gift card to be used anywhere Paypal is accepted. Sign up for Swagbucks here and get a special sign up bonus!
If you are confused about side hustles or just need more information, check out this post on side hustles.
Sacrifice According To Your Goals
One of the hardest things when trying to navigate the holidays while in debt is making sacrifices. Sometimes as adults, we have to sacrifice things that we love because there is just no way to make it happen. This is a hard pill to swallow for most of us, but deep down we know that it has to be done.
Participating in every holiday event that you are invited to could prove to be very expensive. If you have not saved money to attend all of these events and purchase the required gifts, you may have to say no to a few of them. The alternative is to go further into debt. This is what we are trying to avoid.
There is no shame in passing up an invitation in order to save money or avoid debt. Although you may have the fear of missing out, this is actually the smart option. Politely decline the offer and make a note to budget for this event next year.
The Bottom Line
The holidays can be so stressful, especially if you are on a budget. Do not let this discourage you from having a good time and enjoying your family. Navigate the holidays this year in a way that will make you happy while keeping your finances intact. At the end of the day, your family will enjoy your company and that means more than spending a ton of money that you do not have.