Have a DebtFree Christmas – Next Year

The holidays provide a great excuse for overspending.  It’s only once a year, and there are ads and specials plastered everywhere, and after all, you have to get people *something*, right?  So, you whip out your credit card and get busy spending, spending, spending.  Then the minute Christmas is over, you start dreading those awful credit card bills you know are coming in January.  

I’m hoping this isn’t you, but I know this is the experience of many people during the holidays.  It used to be me, but about five years ago, I wised up.  Doesn’t mean I went to go live in a cabin in the woods and stop buying gifts for the people I love.  In fact, I LOVE to buy gifts for the people I love.  I just don’t want to go into debt to do it.  

I finally caught on that Christmas is going to happen EVERY year, and it happens on a pretty predictable schedule, right?  I’m really OLD and back when I was younger, banks used to have something called a Christmas Club account.  I haven’t heard of one in years – I think maybe they went extinct.  However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t make my own little Christmas Club and set aside a little money for the holidays, so I am not caught flat-footed once they clear away the turkey carcass.  

It is actually a very simple concept and one that was very easy to implement.  I just set up a separate checking account – a no-fee one, of course.  You can even set one up on-line, but I chose a traditional bank because they were offering a $100 incentive to open an account – score!  I set up a modest direct deposit every payday from my paycheck – and then here is the key point, I forget about that account for 11 months out of the year!  

I think that is why it was helpful for me to have my account at a separate bank.  That way I don’t see it, smell it, or taste it.  No temptation to dip into it when I have a bill that needs paying, or a cute outfit that is calling to me.  I have a special debit card for it (not a credit card, just a debit) and that card stays safely locked in a drawer all year long.  

Then when it is time to start my Christmas shopping, I have a nice little nest egg that I can spend absolutely guilt-free for my presents.  It really is a nice feeling and if I’m careful, it is just enough to buy all the little must-have items for my family.  And if I do go a little bit over, it isn’t nearly as big a catastrophe in January.  Which means, I’m not still paying on those holiday bills into SUMMER – long after the items are sitting in the back of someone’s closet or have been broken…  

Obviously, it is too late to start one for this year, but Christmas 2015 will be here before we can BLINK and if you open up an account right in January, then you too can have a nice debt free Christmas to look forward to!  

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  1. What a great strategy and such timely advice! I’m going to start this next week for Christmas 2015!

  2. This is spot-on advice! I worked this out a couple of Christmas’s ago when I was on maternity leave and knew I had 3 months with no income at all (I took extra time). Christmas landed right in the middle of this so every month a put a big chunk away and lo… Christmas was paid for without worry or stress! I now have a saving account each for Christmas, birthdays, summer holiday, and car bills (coz they are never cheap or convenient!) and a little goes in each month on payday to make sure we’re never caught out. Life is so much easier and less stressy.

    Thanks for sharing this to my linky!

    • That’s my next step too. I need a vacation account. I’m like you, I like to tuck money away for all sorts of occasions – I’m like a little squirrel that way.

  3. The really scary thing is that I remember “Christmas Club” accounts too! ;0
    I love this article. I have family members that act as if Christmas sneak up on them every year and they never quite seem to have enough money to buy gift (but are perfectly fine with RECEIVING gift :( )
    The truth of the matter is we all have 364 days to get ready for the next Christmas season and I wholehearted agree with your plan. Good job and great article! Stopping by from the SITS Sharefest :)

    • My husband is like that too. But in all fairness, he never fills up his tank until the light comes on and never does laundry until he’s down to the last pair of socks. Maybe it’s just a short-sided type of personality.

  4. I LOVE it when people encourage others to be debt-free {even if it’s just for one holiday}. My husband and I haven’t charged anything on a card in almost TEN years! It’s indescribable, coming from debt and knowing what a debt-free life feels like. Blessings to you!

    • That must be such a nice feeling. I’ll get there one day, but I’m still a bit too impulsive. I’m good at paying down debt, but when I get in a pickle or when I really, really want something, the credit card comes to hand far too easily.

  5. That’s a great idea Stefanie. I may have to try that one!

  6. Such a great strategy. I do something similar by depositing 5% of each paycheck into a “giving” account. I then use that money for any kind of gift- wedding, birthday, xmas, or charitable donation.

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