Women In The Black

How To Stay Out Of Debt This Holiday Season

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The best time to start planning your holiday purchases is right about now, several weeks out from Christmas. It makes for a less stressful holiday season and you will save some serious money and have the time to shop around for price comparisons.

Here are some tips for staying out of debt this holiday season:

Start Your Shopping Early

One advantage of starting your shopping early is that you don’t have such a large outlay of cash all at once. If you can space out your purchases over the next 5 weeks, it will be easier on your budget and you won’t have to deal with the frantic holiday crowds.

Don’t Open Store Credit Cards

 You only have to walk into David Jones and you’ll convinced to open a store credit card in order to nab a discount of approximately 15 per cent off of your next purchase.  Stores will create a sense of urgency that these deals are only for one day, enticing you to sign up on the spot.

While there are benefits for opening a store credit card to shop for the holidays, the biggest factor you need to consider is the interest you will pay.  David Jones charge as much as 20 per cent in interest, and offer deferred interest for three months.

It is tempting to fall for this trap as it gives you the illusion that you will be able to pay off the balance before the no-interest deadline arrives. Unfortunately most people do not, and end up paying outrageous amounts of interest in addition to their purchases.  That makes for some extremely expensive gifts when you work it out.

Check Out The Bargain Stores

Even though you can’t buy a decent gift at the dollar store, you might be able to find some cool, cheap stocking stuffers.  Dollar stores can be great sources for inexpensive gift bags, wrapping paper, greeting cards and decorations. If you do entertaining around the holidays, you can find flatware sets, plates, tablecloths and the like.  After all, it doesn’t get much cheaper than $1.

Check The Flyers

Most shops like Esprit, Country Road and Oroton send flyers and newsletters to let you know what items will be on sale and when. Browse the flyers and you’re almost guaranteed to save on holiday shopping. Make sure you’re checking the flyer to see when the sale begins and ends.

How do you avoid adding debt during the holidays? Let us know your game plan!
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