Nearly anyone you speak to can attest to the fact that Christmas is one of the most expensive holidays there is. When you add in the cost of gifts, parties, decorations, and supplies a family can easily spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year. In fact, according to CNN Money the average shopper spent $398.62 during Black Friday weekend alone, and there was a total of $52.4 billion spent over those four days, which is up 16% from last year.
Sadly, all this spending means that some families have gone into debt to fill their Christmas shopping list. I know it has gotten my husband and I into some tight financial spots in the past, and that fact made me even more determined to have a debt-free Christmas this year. Here are some of the things I'm doing to stay debt-free Christmas.
Narrowing my shopping list
As much as I love all my friends and family members, I just can't afford to buy them all gifts during Christmas. My husband and I sat down and looked at who was on our list, how much money we had to spend, and started making cuts. In the end, it only seemed fair to eliminate anyone that wasn't immediate family, so we could avoid hurt feelings. Doing this will not only help us stay within our budget, but will also increase the amount we can spend per person.
Enlisting help to pay for Christmas dinner
My parents have hosted Christmas dinner every year for as long as I can remember, but this year they've asked us to do it. We gregariously accepted, but asked them to help cover the cost of the meal, which they've agreed to do. They will be paying for half of the ham and buying the drinks, so in all their contribution will save us around $30.
As a new homeowner, I am very excited to decorate for Christmas this year. The only problem is that I have much more space to cover this year. While shopping for decorations I decided to try to make a few things that seemed very overpriced to me. For example, large ribbon bows and ribbon garlands are quite expensive when you purchase them from the store; one medium ribbon bow can cost as much as $6. I found that I can make these things for a fraction of the cost. In fact, I was able to make four bows, and a rather large garland with one spool of ribbon that I bought on sale last year for $2. That means I saved about $33 making them myself.
These things combined with some creative shopping tactics will guarantee that we will make through the Christmas season debt-free.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.More from this contributor: First Person: I Saved $126 on Christmas Decorations First Person: I'm Going Credit Card Free This Christmas