Tips for a frugal, yet festive holiday

If the holidays snuck up on you this year, you’re not alone. The Saturday before Christmas is typically the busiest shopping day of the year, beating out even Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when most retailers kick off their holiday sales.

While it is easy to get caught up in holiday sales and incentives, it is never wise to add financial stress to an already stressful time of year. Consider giving yourself a gift this holiday season—the gift of freedom from financial worries. Fortunately, the experts at Money Management International (MMI) have identified ways to have a frugal holiday without sacrifice.

    Gifts— American Farm Bureau, you can serve a meal for ten, with all of the trimmings, for as little as $42.91. Or, ask your guests to pitch in by bringing their favorite dish. If you must use credit this holiday season, only use those cards or accounts with the lowest interest rates. Set a goal for paying off any holiday debt in a reasonable amount of time. Keep in mind that a $1,700 charge can take more than 17 years to pay down, if your interest rate is 18 percent and you make only the minimum monthly payment.

The key to making it through the holiday season without accruing a large amount of debt is to keep things in perspective. Sometimes it’s hard to escape the “one extra little gift.” However, even small items can add up to be budget-busters. Remember, there is more to the holiday season than shopping—starting a debt free New Year is priceless.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

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