First Person: A 'Cash Only' Christmas Is Not an Option This Year

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This year has been particularly hard for our family. We are trying to make ends meet and still be able to save for a mortgage in the future. While we would love to have a "cash only" Christmas, it is just not possible. This year we have used various strategies, most of which are not cash-friendly. These are the options we used, and why.

Layaway

Layaway is one of my favorite things because it doesn't charge any interest to the items I want to purchase. This is the first year we have had multiple layaways at different stores. Christmas started in July for my house, and we have been picking up small things ever since. I was able to spend $200 over the course of four months on gifts. That would have been a lot of money for us upfront, but we only ended up spending $50 a month until the layaways were paid off.

Catalog shopping

I have two catalog credit lines. I just recently opened the second one specifically so we could finish off our shopping. Truth be told, I am not entirely sure what my interest rate is on the second, but it doesn't matter. We plan to finish our shopping with these two credit cards and pay them off in February. Both total only $500, which is plenty to finish what we have left. I will only have to make two minimum monthly payments before we pay them in full, so I am looking at paying an extra $60 in interest at most.

Credit line through Paypal

I am a freelancer, and most of my payments come through Paypal. I was able to open up a line of credit through them. I can use it anywhere Paypal is accepted, and I can make my payments to them via Paypal. It is nice because the first three months of use there is no interest charged, so if I start using it now, I can pay it off in full without being worried about how much interest we will rack up before it is paid off.

This year I am confident that our children will have a great Christmas despite the financial downfalls of this year. Without credit and layaway, there would not have been gifts for our friends and family. While we would have liked to have a "cash only" holiday, it is just not a feasible option.

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