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We are weeks away from Christmas, and if you’ve watched any holiday movies, you know the world expects that your home should look a certain way, that your Christmas dinner must be perfect, and yes, that you’re supposed to go overboard, fulfilling the dreams of your loved ones by purchasing extravagant gifts.
Count how many paydays until Christmas, and decide how much you can afford to take from each check to pay for Christmas. Make a list of everything you can afford to buy, and divide the list by the number of paychecks you have left. That’s how much you can spend each time you’re paid. You may not spend enough to leave your loved ones in shock and awe, but you will be able to give gifts to the people you love — and do it without risking your financial future.
Take on a side hustle
We don’t have much time before the holidays, but market your skills. Can you paint a straight line like a pro? Go online to your neighborhood message board, and offer to paint rooms in your neighbor’s houses. Can you create unique gifts (like wooden toys, handmade clothes, or festive tablecloths)? Offer your services. Maybe you can help hang Christmas lights, put up Christmas trees, or babysit while parents are out shopping. Now is the time to take on a side hustle, and let people know that you’re available. Use any money you bring in to pay for gifts.
Borrow from family
If you must travel for the payday loans in Carlisle holidays and need money to get on the road, it is better to take a holiday loan from a relative than to borrow from a predatory lender. Do not borrow more than you can afford to repay in the next few months, and set up a repayment plan with whoever loans the money. Remember, the reason you can’t land a low-interest loan from a traditional lender is that you have bad credit. No matter how that bad credit came to be (even if it’s through no fault of your own), anyone who loans you money is going out on a limb, and trusts you to repay the funds. Do not let them down.
You’ve heard it before: It’s not the price of a gift that counts. I recognize how trite that sounds, but the truth is that the best gifts I’ve ever received were either handmade or purchased by my husband during the years we barely had two nickels to rub together. After all these Christmases, my prized possessions are still handprints in clay and a wonky-shaped clay bowl my sons made for me.
Why not be honest with the people you love? If you’ve been out of work, or if business has been slow due to COVID-19, lay it out. Even if you’re doing fine financially, why go into debt to fulfill someone else’s version of what Christmas is supposed to be?
Buy only what you can afford (if anything), and plan a special evening with the people you love. That may mean a drive through a neighborhood covered in Christmas lights, then home for a board game. It could mean ice skating on a pond, followed by hot chocolate. You might even have a family slumber party in the living room with popcorn and movies.
Years from now, the people you care about are going to remember their time with you. Focus on the memories that matter.
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