How To Minimize Debt This Holiday Season

Nov 28, 2023 Holidays

Will you be naughty or nice when it comes to holiday shopping? Follow these suggestions to avoid piling on additional debt this season.

A person wrapping a holiday gift.

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers plan to spend an average of $875 this holiday season – purchasing gifts, food, decorations, and other seasonal items. While not everyone relies on credit, more than 70% of consumers plan to use credit cards to buy holiday gifts alone this year.

With a little planning, smart shopping, and creative ways to earn more, you can avoid piling on additional debt.

More than 70% of consumers plan to use credit cards to buy holiday gifts alone this year.

– Nerdwallet

Ways To Reduce Your Holiday Costs

Talk To Loved Ones

Traditions can be expensive, especially as families grow. This year, consider having a heart-to-heart with your loved ones; be open and honest about any changes you’d like to try this season. Each household may be spending hundreds of dollars each year simply to please one another or because it’s what you’ve always done. Talking openly about your hopes for the holidays may bring relief to all.

Reduce Gift Spending

The bulk of spending during the holidays is on gifts. Rather than giving each friend or family member a gift, try something different. Coordinate a white elephant gift exchange or draw names for a Secret Santa approach. This change alone can bring relief to everyone’s budget.

Redeem Points

If you have a credit card in your wallet, chances are you have untapped rewards waiting to be used. Check to see if you have points to redeem for either cash, gift cards, or travel. Every little bit helps, and what better time is there to take advantage of those rewards?

Additionally, if your employer has a wellness program or employee engagement platform, redeem points on those too.

Get A Seasonal Job

If you’re committed to spending more than what you can currently afford, consider giving your income a boost. Turn a hobby into a money stream or apply for a seasonal job. You’ll have extra income and may have access to an employee discount as an added perk. It’s a win-win.

Borrow Wisely

Set on borrowing? Take time to review your options. If you’re going to pay the balance in full when the statement arrives, use a card that earns cash back or points. If you’re planning to carry a balance, it’s best to go with the option that offers the lowest interest rate.

Sell Duplicate Items

What do you do when you receive something you already have? Maybe your sister thought you could use a crockpot or perhaps your brother bought you new headphones. If you already have the item, you can try selling your old one for cash or getting store credit for the new one.

Save For Next Year

To reduce our dependency on borrowing, it’s best to anticipate holiday spending. Keep your receipts and track your expenses this holiday season. Then take the total amount spent and divide by 10 to see what you should save from January to October of next year. For example, if you spend $800 this year, you’ll contribute at least $80 a month to your holiday fund for 10 months to prepare.


Bottom line is, if you plan ahead and put parameters around your holiday spending you can reduce stress and focus on what’s important – family and friends. Not to mention, you may just have a little fun getting into the holiday spirit early by planning, saving, and budgeting in advance.

A woman staring into a window, there are holiday lights behind her.

Holiday Spending Survival Guide

Use our free Holiday Spending Survival Guide to easily keep track of your budget and following these steps.

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