December 19th, 2012, 8:07 am
During the holiday season, Americans take on more debt than during any other time of the year. Buying presents for family, friends, co-workers, and others is just a part of the holiday tradition, but without proper planning, holiday spending can quickly lead to a serious debt load that may be difficult to manage in the New Year.Fortunately, there are ways to avoid going into this kind of debt during the holidays. The following is a brief list of some of the most common (and most effective) ways that holiday shoppers can help prevent themselves from going into too much debt during the holidays:
- Establish a budget - knowing what you can afford to spend before making any of your other holiday plans is a simple but extremely effective way of helping to reduce the temptation to spend unnecessarily.
- Make a list of presents - rather than shopping around and buying gifts on impulse, know what you plan on getting the people in your life beforehand. That way, you can also help to ensure that your planned gifts are within your budget.
- Shop online - buying gifts online can add expensive shipping costs, and as the holidays come closer, getting presents in time for Christmas can increase these costs. But comparing prices for the gifts you plan on purchasing online can help you know where to get the best deals.
- Make travel reservations early - the earlier you make your travel reservations, the better. Prices typically increase the closer you get to your travel date, so making plans at the earliest possible date can help to lower your travel costs.
- Make your own gifts - homemade gifts obviously vary in quality, but if you put enough thought and effort into making something that you know your loved ones will like, these types of gifts can actually be better than store-bought presents.
These are just some of the many ways that holiday debt can be reduced or avoided altogether. However, for those who already have serious debt problems, preventing debt may not be enough to resolve their financial situation. In these cases, consulting with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer can help to return a debtor back to financial independence.