5 Top Tips For A Debt Free Christmas In 2017

Sadly over the last 50 years Christmas has started to get more crazy and painful than calm and peaceful. As anxiety and stress levels increase over financial pressures and other external pressures. So can you actually have a debt free Christmas?

Commercialisation has played a huge part in the mass cultural pressure of what is perceived as the perfect Christmas. Coca-Cola’s reinvention of a more jolly Santa in 1931 began to open the floodgates for commercial businesses to manipulate consumers into emotional buying.

And sadly today that has evolved into massive debt in 9 out of 10 people. In-fact that consumers in the UK were said to have spent £11 billion in deb to fund Christmas in 2016. And as we all know debt not only can affect your security, but your day to day life, home and relationships. Debt is one of the biggest reasons for a great deal of anxiety and stress and the reason why so many people play the lottery at this time of year, hoping and praying for a debt free Christmas or New Year.

But the truth is Christmas doesn’t have to be as expensive as we have come to believe it to be. We simply get caught up in the perception, the conditioning and sometimes peer and family pressure.

So how can you achieve a more healthy debt free Christmas?

Especially when you haven’t saved or simply don’t have the income to stretch past the bills.

  • Prioritise — Remind yourself what Christmas is really about, it is actually about generosity of heart not generosity of money. Being there and spending time with the people is far more important. Focus on who and what is important like the kids first. If you have kids, are on an extremely low budget and have a very low budget shop around, check out second hand shops, online facebook groups- you would be shocked what people give away or sell that has been rarely used or never opened. My sisters have kids at all different ages, and so many of them who had really young kids, would put away Christmas gifts that were never opened and forgot about. It is worth remembering that really young children don’t need a lot and have no perceived conception around what they should or shouldn’t get. One of my sisters actively buy’s recycled goods like bicycles both her and her husband have good jobs, he is a lawyer but they choose to support a more healthier environmental way to shop. And their kids love it, especially when they highlight how much buying a specific item has helped reduce carbon footprints etc
  • Set A Budget– always have a budget for gifts, shopping and things like taxis, night’s out. Christmas can be a tempting time just to join in in every party, night-out or to get carried away but have a budget and stick to it. If you are tempted to spend more than you have but can access the money as cash without any interest. It can be worth making a deal you only spend what you have in cash but I would suggest for bigger gifts that you want to buy that you want some extra insurance on use your credit card.
  • Make Your Gifts– I know that sounds so old fashioned but this is actually so in and so much more appreciated, also it can be great fun especially with the kids. As a single person who spent a large time being very ill unable to work and belonging to a large family, I had to be resourceful. I would watch out for bargains throughout the year but I have made all sorts of gifts through the years from bath bombs, aromatherapy massage blends, ginger wine, homemade chocolates, my own cards, scarves…This year I am making bath bombs and large bath salts in large plastic sweetie jars with some of my nieces n nephew.
  • Focus On Having Fun Not Expense — Focus on gifts that will bring the greatest fun, not keeping up with the Jones’s but something they will not get bored with after a few days. Belonging to a huge family, a lot of us when strapped for cash, would choose gifts that are in-expensive but so much fun. This is a great ideal if you have been asked to someone’s for dinner or Christmas. It is amazing what you can pick up in shops like B&M, Poundland, craft or hardware shops when finances are seriously stretched, the fun these gifts bring seriously take the heat off any perceived un-comfortableness with gift sharing. But always remember Christmas is never about how much you spend not matter what other’s around you believe. And just because someone spends a certain amount certainly doesn’t mean you have to do the same.
  • Finance– if you feel or believe you have no choice to get a loan or credit card, make a wise choice- choose an interest free card when you can, there are so many options. Check out the Money Saving Expert for this and other ideas to save money. Please be very very careful whom and where you borrow money and always check out the APR if your not great with numbers or money. It can be a good ideal to get a friend to check the fine print out for you or help work out repayments. But remember your well-being is far more important than any Christmas gift .

If you struggle with anxiety or stress at this time year. Myself and my good friend David Rabone, The Soul Healer are running a special Christmas advent of stress free tips and words of wisdom delivered to your inbox from 1st Dec -25th Dec you can join in anytime. We will be giving away some amazing FREE Gifts with a chance to win a one to one session with both of us.

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Originally published at stress-coach.co.uk on December 3, 2017.