Hopefully this catches you in time as many people make mistakes that will hurt them for a large portion of next year during these 2 weeks leading up to Christmas day.

Many people, even those who are financially disciplined, will lose all financial reason leading up to Christmas. People have a tendency to spend more they can afford on things that are not life or death. In fact their generosity often backfires because the Christmas over-spending inhibits the ability to be generous to worthy things during other parts of the year.

Here are a few tips to help avoid post-Christmas financial hangover!

1. Know that love is more important than stuff.

2. Decide on a dollar amount that you can afford to pay before making the list of names and items. Get that dollar amount out of the bank and put it in an envelope.

3. Decide if you will buy anything for yourself or not. (I’ve read that up to 50% of money spent on Christmas shopping is spent by the shopper for the shopper.) Make your list of names and divide the dollars between them as evenly or unevenly as you see fit.

5. Put items of appropriate dollar amount next to the names, and do web searches to find the stores with the best prices. Remember that sometimes people would prefer your time or expertise in a matter over a gift. They get something often more special and you don’t go into more debt. Examples: proofreading a paper or raking leaves or a coupon for a picnic for 2 at the park

6. Take your Christmas cash with you to the store and leave your credit cards behind. It’s just too tempting when you are at the store to impulse buy and overspend, “oh, so and so would just love this, and it’s on sale!”
7. Stick your budget. When you are out of Christmas cash your shopping is over. You might not like that fact now, but you will appreciate not having the stress of Christmas bills still hanging on in March.

Most importantly remember that the whole point of Christmas is supposed to be worshipping Jesus. Having family and friends to love and be generous towards is an added bonus. Loving family and friends do not want to receive generosity at the expense of financial damage and stress to someone they love.

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