I love to spend at the holidays but don’t enjoy the anxiety that comes with paying for everything.  I guess I could call myself a recovering credit card addict and the holidays are full of temptations to spend on bright shiny objects. I’ve come up with a few rules for my debt-free holiday spending plan. 

First, I opened up a holiday saving account at my credit union. I can’t withdraw the funds until November of each year.  Since I know I can’t take the money out at a moment’s notice; I’m conservative with the amount I put into the account.  Every month after all the bills are paid in full I decide how much to transfer into the holiday saving account and how much to add to debt repayment.  I estimate saving $20 a paycheck to cover all these expenses with no debt, no stress and few travel reward points.  I pay for the above items using a rewards credit card and pay it off in full using the money in my holiday saving account.

Debt-Free Holiday Spending Budget:

Holiday meals

Turkeys and roasts can get pricey, so I budget about $175 for this expense and  a couple of celebrations out with friends.

Gifts for co-workers

This is my most expensive item, I’m the boss and feel it’s important to show my appreciation for everyone’s hard work throughout the year.  Also, I need to contribute to my boss’s gift  each year. I prefer to not burden people, even family with unwanted gifts, so I opt for consumables.  Who doesn’t love a beautiful box of chocolate or a bottle of their favorite hooch!  $200   Before I became the boss I budgeted $50 for holiday gifts for co-workers and unless you’re the one who cooks for the holidays your meal budget might be lower.

Gifts for family and friends

Again I opt for consumables.  If I’m tight on time I grab a catalog and send gift baskets and a card or if I’m exceptionally organized I’ll plan out a few homemade consumable gift items for a more personal touch. I love getting together with a friend and cooking up some homemade cookies and pies for gifting. $150  One of my favorite catalogs is Williams and Sonoma, I send out an order of frozen mini croissants for under $30, elegant and yummy.

Williams and Sonoma Holiday Catalog

Holiday Decorations

I have everything I need, but once in a while, I might find something too good to pass up. $25

 

Wishing you a debt-free holiday season!

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