Personal Finance Round-Up: Rack Up the Christmas Fun, But Not The Debt

It’s funny how this time of year, even the most frugal of us can lose our heads. Maybe it’s the smells in the air like cinnamon or cocoa, or the enormous amount of sweets and eggnog we consume, but there is something about the holidays that can make almost anyone go nuts, and I’m not talking about chestnuts!

Much of the craziness can be attributed to the lack of planning combined with the stress of getting everyone the perfect present.

One of my own goals this year is to not only make a plan, but also to actually stick to it for once. I want to come out of the holiday with a much smaller credit card bill and a little less guilt. Money Blue Book, in How to Survive the Holidays without Wiping Out Your Savings Account, has a couple helpful tips to do just that. While spending during the holidays is inevitable, we shouldn’t just open the flood gates and let the debt rack up. Let’s all shoot for a debt-free Christmas this year!

Here are a few more pieces that should help in that area:

Reader Story: Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Christmas (and Beyond!)
There are a few keys to getting the perfect gift for someone and none of those keys has a price tag attached to it. The perfect gift comes from the heart and means something to the recipient. Check out these inexpensive gift ideas to see if any of them would fit someone you love. [Get Rich Slowly]

10 Tips for Safer, Smarter Online Shopping
While shopping online has become a very valid form of getting the gifts you need during the holidays, its convenience may mislead you into thinking it is as safe as it looks. There are a couple things you should always do when shopping online, so check them out and see how safely you have been shopping. [Shoeboxed]

Being Frugal vs. Being Cheap
In some people, Christmas brings out the generosity and kind spirit; in others, it brings out the “cheapskate” in them. Here are a few ground rules to go by this year if you are unclear where you stand. [Green Panda Tree House]

Driving Slower Can Save You Money!
When you’re out driving around to get the best gifts and deals this Christmas, take into account how you’re driving. Poor driving could neutralize your cost-saving efforts. [Doughroller]

5 Haggling Tips To Get a Better Price
In the past, haggling was quite common. In recent years, it has made a huge comeback, but haggling done wrong could land you a lot more than a discount and I’m not talking about free shipping. Make sure you follow the unspoken rules and you could benefit from this old practice. [Moolanomy]

How To Distinguish a Sale from a Rip-off
Retailers know and understand what you and I look for during the holidays – deals. They also know how to dress up a deal in sheep’s clothing. Are you getting a lemon or the real thing? [Money Talks News]

Holiday Money Tips
With gifts, parties, and big dinners during this time of year, budgets get stretched to the limit. Check these out because there are more ways than just looking for deals to be smart with your money. [Money Smart Life]

Save Money on Christmas — For Next Year
The best way to get ahead during Christmas is to actually get ahead during Christmas. What I mean is, start planning for next Christmas during this Christmas! It may be a year away but time flies and you will be surprised next year by all the savings you can create for yourself by planning early. [Money Ning]

Don’t Let Dining Out Bite Into Holiday Savings
Not every meal during the holidays will be home-cooked or even eaten sitting down. When eating out this time of year, check out these ways to save big. [Get Currency]

Think Long Term When Shopping Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Shopping and spending obligations don’t simply end with Christmas. All throughout the year, you may find yourself spending on gifts such as birthdays and anniversaries for your friends and family. Think ahead while doing your shopping this year and kill multiple birds with one stone. [Free From Broke]

Christmas Without Credit Cards
While out doing all your shopping, do yourself a favor and try to let the shopping end when you get back home. Credit card debt lives on much longer and buying on credit card can create unnecessary burdens for you and your family, illustrated by this great story. [One Money Design]

(photo credit: tamburix)

  • Ben

    Some great articles, thanks for the mention!

    • Andrew (Admin)

      No prob Ben!

  • Lisa Jeffries

    Thanks for including the Shoeboxed tips amongst such other great resources! Happy Holidays… go easy on the chestnuts! ;-)

    • Andrew (Admin)

      You got it Lisa! Keep up the great work over at Shoeboxed!

  • Craig

    Thanks for the mention!

    • Andrew (Admin)

      Love the long-term shopping mindset! I try to do exactly the same thing!