Family get togethers, work parties, children’s Christmas stockings, presents, visits to Santa, Christmas dinner, the list is endless. The pressure on families in particular during the festive season can be immense. Having children is wonderful, but Christmas to most children means, “PRESENTS!” Presents from Santa, presents from Mum and Dad, presents from their brothers and sisters. On top of this, parents are also expected to find the money to buy presents for their children to give to their friends and relatives.
We all want to give our children a wonderful Christmas, but for many people, the financial pressure is unbearable. In this day and age of financial constraints and unemployment, Christmas can so easily turn from wonderful to truly dreadful if you don’t have enough money.
It is all too easy to turn to credit to pay for everything, thinking “I’ll worry about it in the New Year”. Perhaps you have put your purchases on your credit card or maybe you have taken out a loan with your bank or from one of the many “Pay Day” lenders that charge extortionate amounts of interest. However, after all the parties and merry making is over, you will still have the debt plus the ever-increasing interest payments to find.
Christmas is here! If you are in the unfortunate position of having financed it on credit, here are a few tips for dealing with the debt:-
If you can, pay off your credit card in full after Christmas. That way, you won’t incur any interest charges.
If you are not in a position to do this, then look out for 0% balance transfer credit cards. If you transfer the debt to one of these cards, you won’t pay any interest on the debt.
Try to cut back on luxuries for the first few months in the New Year. The sooner you can pay off your credit, the less interest you will pay.
If you find yourself in real financial trouble, don’t bury your head in the sand. Contact a member of the Consumer Counseling Services (CCS). They will be able to guide you in reducing your debt and help negotiate reduced payments to your creditors. Make sure that the agency is accredited by either the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) or the Council on Accreditation (COA)

Planning for Next Christmas

Don’t let yourself fall into the same trap next year. A little bit of forward planning can make all the difference. Here are some tips to keep you out of the red and in the black:-
Try looking out for bargains during the year, especially when the sales are on. Make sure you hide them in a good place though!
Unwanted presents that you receive during the year can be re-wrapped and “re-gifted” to someone else.
Join a Christmas savings club. Putting a few dollars away each month soon adds up and when the next festive season arrives, you will have money to put towards food and presents.

Don’t Forget The True Meaning of Christmas

Thanksgiving and Christmas is a time for families and friends. Presents are just an added bonus. Your children won’t remember the number of presents you give them, but they will remember time spent together, conversation, laughing and playing games.
Never forget that the most precious present you can give your children and family is your time and love, and that costs nothing!
Image Credit: Kevin Dooley on Flickr