25 Amazing Steps To A Debt Free Christmas

Christmas can be a hugely worrying time for many people as the pressure builds to spend loads of money on things we don’t need.
Spending money at Christmas can get ridiculously out of control as we fall for Christmas consumerism on a mass scale. Staying debt free at Christmas can seem almost impossible, but a few simple tweaks to your spending habits could see you on your way to a debt free Christmas.

How to have a debt free Christmas

Think like a minimalist

  1. Set a budget 

    Work out a Christmas budget for everyone to follow. Remember you’re trying to have a debt free Christmas. Keep the budget low and make sure it is affordable for everyone involved. Remember Christmas is only one day. Work out how much you can afford to spend and stick to it. Think about who you have to buy gifts for and work out how much you can afford to spend per person. For more information on how to set up a Christmas budget read this post

  2. Follow the four present rule

    The four present rule is when you buy your child something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. This is an especially good rule to follow if you have lots of kids to buy presents for.
    You can search for second-hand books to cut down the cost of your Christmas. I use a website called Abebooks to buy my second-hand books. They rate the condition of the books, like new, excellent and good condition, they also describe any wear and tear on the book in the description. Most of the books I have received from Abebooks have been unread and in near perfect condition. You can filter your search to “lowest price including postage” and the books start at a few pounds each including postage, depending on which book you’re looking for. Perfect for all those little bookworms!

    four gift rule for debt free Christmas. lady placing four presents under the tree

  3. Have a secret Santa for large family gatherings 

     If you have a large family gathering include the kids in your secret Santa, this will save spending money on individual gifts for everyone.
    When buying gifts for a secret Santa, avoid personal gifts, make the gifts generic and appropriate for all members of the family. Candy, cookies, puzzles,  unusual stationery and pens or  a ginger beer kit, are all practical, fun gifts which won’t end up in the bin. Choose something you would like to receive.
    Be gracious about unwanted gifts, if you don’t like the gift just smile and pretend you do, remember it’s just a bit of fun and the purpose of a secret Santa is to help you have a debt free Christmas so suck it up buttercup! 

  4. Write out a food list.

    Remember Christmas day is just a roast dinner and a bit of lunch. So much food gets wasted at this time of the year. Don’t go overboard buying food you Wouldnt usually eat the rest of the year.  Only buy food that you normally eat and don’t go crazy buying the drinks! It is, after all, only one day!  You could start preparing food now by freezing foods like soup or desserts ready for the big day. This will also help you get organised in advance!
    If you need help meal planning, check out this post.

  5. Sell your unwanted stuff 

    Make money by selling your unwanted stuff, especially toys and kids clothes. There is a huge amount of money to be made at this time of the year when people are looking for cheaper kids toys. Have a look through your kids toys , books and clothes to see what you could sell on eBay.
    Up-cycle some old furniture from the garage using chalk paint to sell for some extra cash, everyone likes a bit of shabby chić!

  6. Start a toy rotation system

    This is a great way to start a debt free Christmas and cut down on the Christmas toys. If you need to know more about starting a toy rotation system read this post. 
    Try to think of inexpensive Christmas traditions which you can start
    to include on  Christmas day rather than just focusing on gift giving. My kids love to go on a “midnight walk”  in our pyjamas and wellies on Christmas evening when it gets dark. We take them through the scary parts of the village past the old haunted house, then we go and say thank you to the soldiers at the war memorial, my kids love it and its a great way to walk off the Christmas pudding!
    Playing board games or encouraging your kids to put on a festive show are all great ways to create memories. We organise a  family raffle for some homemade gifts and we give the money raised to a charity of the kids choice, ours usually go to the RSPCA.
     There are many things you can do to make Christmas special without having to spoil your kids with toys. If you think back to your childhood Christmas you probably can’t remember a single Christmas present
    you received,  but I bet you can remember making the Angel for the top of the tree out of loo rolls, or helping to stir the money into the Christmas pudding.
    Christmas is all about the memories, not about how much money you can spend on your kids.  A debt free Christmas will be the one your kids will remember the most!

  7. Buy gift cards instead of gifts 

    If you’re shopping on a Christmas budget, giving gift cards is one of the best ways to help you save money and have a debt free Christmas. Gift cards simplify the gift-giving process by allowing you to give a set amount of money without having to add to the gift to make it look better.
    I’m someone who loves receiving gift cards for Christmas, because it’s a guilt-free shopping day for me and it prevents me from spending the money on the kids and forces me to spend it on myself. If you’ve got gifts to give for any other mums consider giving a pamper gift card or a gift card for the beauty salon these gifts are always well received.

  8. Buy second hand toys and books 

    eBay has some great toy bundles especially for educational and wooden toys, you just need to spend a bit of time searching through untill you find what you’re looking for.

  9. Do a joint present

    If your kids are at the age where they want the latest gadget or designer gear, consider splitting the cost with a grandparent or Aunt and do a joint gift. Try to minimise the number of gifts you are giving and join together with other family members to cut the cost.  Evaluate who you are giving gifts to this Christmas and cut out any gifts that are not necessary.
    We agreed on a secret Santa for our family gatherings, and for close family we decided only to buy gifts for the kids rather than buying token gifts for the adults, it took the financial pressure off a little bit and made Christmas shopping a lot simpler.

  10. Earn more money

    Look for part-time work in supermarkets or department stores to earn some extra cash. Many places are hiring staff over the busy festive period and sometimes night shifts are available if you have someone at home to look after the kids.

  11. Don’t fall for peer pressure

    Avoid buying a new Christmas jumper for the kids on Christmas Jumper day, choose something red and pin baubles or tinsel to it, or even a  large note to the front saying bah humbug! Or send your kids in a Christmas hat instead.
    Between world book day, history day and Christmas jumper day you can spend a fortune on outfits for school which will never be worn again, let’s fight back against it and get creative on a budget! Let’s  have a debt free Christmas!

  12. Give free Christmas gifts 

    Use your skills to give free Christmas gifts, for example, cleaning, gardening, painting, cooking, sewing, babysitting, art or any other skill you have, to give to someone else.
    Homemade biscuits, cakes, cleaning products, sweets, art and 
    photography are all amazing gifts to receive.


    homemade cookies for a debt free christmas

  13. Don’t travel at Christmas 

    Make a no travel rule, save money on flights or train tickets over Christmas by letting people come to you instead.

  14. Eat at home 

    Don’t eat out at Christmas as restaurants often triple their prices over the festive period, avoid paying over inflated prices, have your Christmas dinner at home this year.

  15. Think like a minimalist and stop sending cards!

    I hate to admit it, but when I receive a Christmas card I usually put it straight in the recycling. The only cards I display are from my close family and the kids, the rest are just Christmas clutter.
    Christmas cards are easy to eliminate off your list of things to buy. Not many people will notice if they don’t receive a card and you’ll save heaps of money on postage too! Get the kids to make homemade Christmas cards for friends and family or make them on the computer and email them insted.

  16. Stop buying decorations 

    Make do with the decorations you’ve already got, they were great last year and they’ll still be great this year. You don’t need to spend any more money on any more Christmas clutter to make your house look good. Less is more!
    Rely on warm lighting and Christmas smells to make your home inviting and cozy this Christmas!
    Have fun with the kids making your own Christmas decorations. Why not try making Christmas paper chains or paper chain people, and snowflakes for the windows, start a new Christmas tradition!

    lady holding a Christmas donut bauble , how to have a debt free Christmas

  17. Pay cash

    If you can’t pay cash for it don’t buy it! Leave your debit card at home and only take out the cash you need with you when you are buying gifts, stick to your budget, it’s the most important step in your journey to have to a debt free Christmas!

  18. Write a list and stick to it

    Write a list and stick to it, don’t be tempted to spend extra money on something that isn’t on your list. This is the easiest way to save money on unnecessary spending.
    If you struggle to curb your spending read this post

  19. Cut down the amount of gifts you are buying.

    Agree with your family not to exchange gifts amongst the adults and only buy gifts for the kids, encourage everyone else in the family to try having a debt free christmas!

  20. Stop using credit cards. 

    Leave the credit card at home, this will help you save money by avoiding impulse purchases. Better still, avoid  Christmas debt altogether by cutting up your credit card!

  21. Use the envelope system

    Save up for presents and put the money in envelopes , take the envelopes with you when you shop, leaving behind all your debit, visa and store cards!

  22. Give cash to teenagers instead of gifts.

    Don’t be afraid to give cash to teenagers rather than buying expensive gifts they probably don’t want or need. Teenagers love spending money!

  23. Avoid work pressure

    Avoid the Christmas lucky dips at work, and suggest you have a lucky dip of gift cards instead of cheap and nasty useless gifts which usually head straight to the charity shop. Bags of sweets, cakes or chocolate also make great inexpensive gifts for a lucky dip.

  24. Don’t spoil the baby

    Don’t splash the cash on the baby! Babies are too young to understand the concept of gift giving.
    If you’re struggling for cash, concentrate on spending the money on older children rather than expensive baby gifts which will probably all go unused!

  25. Start saving in January for next Christmas.

    Open up a savings account for next year and  put by a few pounds a week to help you on your way to another debt free Christmas!

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25 steps to a debt free Christmas

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