It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? The Holidays are always an enjoyable season of gift-giving and family time as many members of the military are able to take time off and spend it at home. But what many don’t realize is how much that gift giving might cost them. In 2018, the average consumer racked up $1,054 in debt over the holiday season. With interest rates on credit cards usually over 15%, that debt takes quite some time to pay off. Over the long run, that’s over $500 in interest payments for most people. So how do you go about ensuring that you don’t rack up debt this holiday season? Take a look at the tips below:
- Create a Budget…and stick to it! Retailers know that impulse purchases are hard to resist so those are the first things you see when you walk into a store…or shop online. If you create a budget based on the money you have available — and don’t fall for those impulse purchases — you’ll be much better off in the long run. If you have issues with how to create a budget, take a look at the budget course created by the nonprofit Life Skills for Soldiers. It’s a great resource for those looking for tips and tricks on budgeting.
- Team up for gifts! We all know that one family member that is off to college next year and needs a new laptop. If you’re trying to get them that gift, it might be worth teaming up and purchasing it together. If the laptop is over $1,000, they will certainly understand if it is a gift from you and two of your siblings. Doing this will save you a lot of money on expensive gifts.
- Avoid putting it all on a credit card if you can’t afford it! Anyone with credit card interest can tell you… those payments add up. Avoiding putting gifts that you cannot afford on a credit card is a good first start. If you can make the monthly payments in full, though, it might be worth putting gifts on a credit card so you get rewarded. If you’re curious about some of those rewards, take a look at our post here. Military members benefit greatly from many laws regarding credit cards.
- Make some extra cash to help pay the bills! The holidays are full of opportunities to help make some extra cash. Considering what skills you might have that could earn you some extra money could help you pay for a few gifts. Perhaps you have skills at wood working, can make custom artwork, or are really good at graphic design. All of these skills could very well be used to help you afford your holiday gifts if you can figure out how to market your skills for money. Your military network could be incredibly beneficial in marketing your skills!
- Give a homemade gift! This goes hand in hand with making some extra cash. If you have a special talent, you can make a gift for that friend or family member. Sometimes, photographs make the best gifts as well. Consider home made gifts before going and dropping $150 on AirPods. Your friend or family member may even like a thoughtful homemade gift more than an expensive store-bought one.
Oh and last but not least… GO ARMY, BEAT NAVY! (Apologies to all Navy subscribers)
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