December is a month filled with celebrations, and many California families look forward to the holiday season all year long. For those who have gone through a period of financial turmoil, Christmas can feel more stressful than joyous. During the next few weeks, individuals and families must take care not to dig an even deeper financial hole. It may also be helpful to consider if it is time to address unmanageable debt with a more aggressive stance.
Very few people are willing to fully eliminate all holiday spending, even when times are tough. Christmas is steeped in tradition and memories, and most people want to preserve those traditions and create new memories for their children. That said, it is absolutely essential to create a holiday budge so that spending can remain at a manageable level.
A great way to take a responsible approach to holiday spending is to determine how much money is available to put toward gift purchases. This should be limited to cash-on-hand rather than turning to credit cards. Next, make a list of everyone for whom a gift is desired. That way it is easy to determine how much money can be spent on each individual and how to maximize that budget to find the best possible gifts.
Handling the holidays in the midst of financial turmoil can be a challenge. However, it is important to remember the true spirit of the holidays, and to avoid worsening unmanageable debt. By setting a spending limit and working within that budget, California consumers can enjoy the holiday season without undue levels of stress. Once the decorations have been taken down and the New Year approaches, it may be worthwhile to consider debt reduction options, up to and including personal bankruptcy protection.
Source: whdh.com, "8 ways to plan for debt-free holiday gift shopping", Andrew Housser, Nov. 23, 2015