Every fall, when people start freaking out about pumpkin spice everything, I go into survival mode. For me, fall means only one thing – start making plans to survive the Corridor of Debt (dun dun dunnn).
The Corridor of What?
The Corridor of Debt, as I’ve taken to calling it, is that magical time of year that kicks off with Black Friday, amps up on Small Business Saturday, swings into high gear with Cyber Monday and finally wraps up with Giving Tuesday. It’s that time of year when you’re constantly reminded that unless you buy the perfect gift or spend a ridiculous amount of money, your holiday will be less than perfect.
And for many, that also means facing a mountain of debt come January. And no one wants that.
So What Should I Do?
Before you get caught up in the madness, sit down and formulate a plan of attack.
- Set an overall budget for gifts and holiday donations. Be realistic. I promise, your friends and family will not think less of you if you don’t break the bank. Many families have started to embrace the ‘4 Gift’ rule for their children – something they need, something they want, something to wear and something to read.
- Start your shopping early. It can be easier on your bottom line if you budget to buy one or two gifts each week leading up to the holidays instead of doing everything at once.
- Consider homemade gifts or passing along a family heirloom. A framed picture of a special moment means way more than another scarf. One of my most treasured gifts is a sewing basket that has been handed down from generation to generation. And I don’t even sew!
- Shop those sales. This is where it can get a little tricky. Know what you are looking for and only shop that item. It’s too easy to get swept up in all the excitement. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself buying someone a totally impractical gift only because it was “too good to pass up.”
- Not everyone gets a gift. I know this may seem cold-hearted but it’s a decision I came to a long time ago. I love my family but I simply cannot afford to purchase a gift for everyone. I explained my situation to the extended family and as it turns out, they were incredibly relieved. They were also trying to be budget friendly and it was a win-win for us all.
- Buy throughout the year. Although it’s a little too late to start this practice now, it’s a good plan for 2018. Throughout the year I keep an eye out for gifts. I stow them away and by the time December rolls around, I’ve got a jump start on my list. #hellolowstress
Reap Those Rewards!
If you can avoid the Corridor of Debt, you’ll be set up to tackle those 2018 resolutions. For most people, paying off debt / growing their savings usually falls within the top five of New Years’ Resolutions. Think how far ahead you’ll be if you avoid adding to your consumer debt! The holidays are already stressful enough.