by Pastor Kregg Hood
November 20, 2014
Ah, yes … December 25. With its celebration and gift giving, it will be here before you can say, “Ho-Ho-Ho.” But, if you overspend, “Ah, yes” turns to “Oh, no” when credit card statements arrive in January. Try giving these steps a shot to avoid overspending this holiday season.
- Make a Gift Spending Plan. Decide in advance what you can truly afford. Estimate your spending on the basis of what you have or will make by the end of the year. Do not base your plan on what you can borrow. Write your plan in list form: who, what and how much. Keep the list with you and follow it carefully when you go shopping.
- Shop the sales. Most people get in trouble with Christmas overspending when they buy in a hurry or on a whim. Look for genuine bargains.
- Pay with cash. Research indicates that over 50% of Americans are paying off Christmas credit card debt in September of the following year. To be frank, any loan on a credit card is dangerous. But, if you commit to paying off the debt within 35 days, you will hold interest payments to a minimum. Still, remember that you must be serious and watch every dollar carefully.
- Watch out for automatic gift exchanging. This is a frequent tradition for some family or friends, and it works for some. But it can also become a source of guilt or just habit.
- Consider giving handmade gifts. If you’re good with crafts, these gifts are always special to the people you love and who love you.
- Write a card. For the rest of us who are not so handy with crafts, a beautiful card with a great message and your handwritten note is a wonderful gift.
- Make a memory. Time is one of the most precious gifts that you can give. Many of the people you love would rather have you schedule a time to go have fun together. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, either. You could meet for lunch or coffee, go to a movie or plan some other enjoyable experience. Write a card, describe your plan and suggest a date. Tell them that this year you are trying something new and you want to get together with them as your gift.
Ultimately, the best plan for Christmas spending works all year long: pray for wisdom and commit to follow God’s lead. Make this Christmas a time when people experience through you the true meaning of John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son … Jesus.