Now that the holidays are over for 2006, I’m starting to recover from the sugar induced rush that sent me careening over the edge during the after Christmas sales. I managed to only spend what I budgeted (for once and only through a serious amount of will) and although I don’t have credit cards anymore (long, long story), I do know what a crazy shopping time the holidays can be.

I also know that when the sugar wears off and the credit card bills start rolling in during January that the amount due may cause a heart attack in an otherwise totally healthy person.

So, how do you plan for the holidays so that you don’t put yourself into unsurmountable amounts of debt trying to purchase every last toy on your children’s wish lists?

Well, the first thing may be to limit how many toys you purchase from your child’s wish list. Our son writes out a list each year and “Santa” chooses three from the list plus small stuff for his stocking. That’s it and no  more. The kid has got three sets of grandparents for goodness’ sakes! He’s going to have more toys under that Christmas tree than he knows what to do with. Plus, your child really doesn’t need everything he sees on television, right?

Another idea is to purchase gifts throughout the year when the best sales are happening. Of course, this takes some forethought and planning as well as some really good hiding places for the loot. However, you’ll save money, time, and definitely keep the stress levels down when Christmas rolls around again.

You may also want to set up a holiday savings account, sometimes called a Santa Saver account. Each month you place a certain amount of money ($25, $50, etc) into the account and it accrues interest. Then, at the end of the year, especially the day after Thanksgiving or two days before Christmas (ironically the biggest shopping day of the year), you can go shopping and get some great deals on those toys your children want so much.

If you have any tips on how to save money to keep the holiday debt down, feel free to post it!



Marlo Quinn Independent Consultant

That’s a Wrap Independent Consultant