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Preparing for the Expenses of the Holidays

The holiday season is quickly approaching, bringing all kinds of fun parties, last minute travel plans, and of course, gift exchanges. While giving gifts is a beautiful way to celebrate the people you love, it can also take a tremendous toll on your credit card – and if you’re already in serious debt, too many holiday purchases can add unnecessary anxiety to your New Year’s financial planning.

At Lam Law Firm, our Myrtle Beach bankruptcy attorney Huong T. Lam is committed to helping clients find ways to manage their money more effectively and stay on top of debt. It can be difficult, but it IS possible to stay frugal without depriving yourself of holiday cheer. With a few simple saving tips, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the spirit of the season.

Here are some tips to keeping your credit card burden light during the holidays:

  • Make a list and check it twice. Before you start gift shopping, it’s important to list all the potential recipients you’ll need to think about and set a budget for each one. Creating a well-defined shopping list has been proven to reduce impulse purchases or overspending, and it’ll give you some time to think about gifts the receivers will really cherish.
  • Keep an eye on any upcoming sales. Black Friday may be over, but it isn’t the only day of the year with great sales! You can often find incredible discounts through your credit card providers, or by doing a little online research before that trip to the mall.
  • Ask your friends if they’d be open to drawing names or doing a white elephant party this year.  Direct gift exchanges with every single friend and acquaintance can really add up, even if your budgets are small. One way to circumvent these costs is by drawing names from a hat and only purchasing a gift for one person. You can also suggest a white elephant party, where each guest purchases a gift, to be passed around or “stolen” by other party guests during the game. By the end of the night, everyone will have a thoughtful gift they love, and you’ll be able to conserve costs.
  • Buy in bulk. Who doesn’t love a holiday gift basket filled with treats and goodies? Creating your own homemade gift basket or stocking not only adds a warm and personal touch, but it allows you to buy items in bulk, saving money in the process.
  • Carpool to your holiday parties. Carpooling is a fantastic way to save critical funds for gas and ridesharing services. As a bonus, letting someone else drive means you’ll have a designated driver to that company Christmas party!
  • Give the gift of yourself. Daisy Reese, co-author of “True Self, True Wealth: A Pathway to Prosperity,” suggests that emotionally rich gifts will be more likely to have a lasting impact on the receiver, and can improve your overall wellbeing too. Anything that honors your memories with the person, or creates a new connection (like time spent planting a garden or visiting a national park) can mean much more than an expensive present.
  • Tell your family that you’re on a budget. Conversations about money can be difficult, even with family. But the ones you love will understand if you’re trying to make ends meet, and they may even be facing similar financial dilemmas. Opening up about your own needs can ultimately make the holidays easier on everyone.
  • Share food and party expenses. If possible, see if others in your friend circle would be willing to help chip in for party favors or food at your next holiday party. You can even host a potluck dinner, encouraging each person to bring a favorite holiday dish as a way to share in each other’s cultures and traditions!

At Lam Law Firm, we know that times can be tough during the holidays. If you need experienced debt counselling, our Myrtle Beach bankruptcy attorney Huong Lam can help you understand all your options. Don’t hesitate to call (843) 695-7700 for a free consultation!