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8 Ways to Stay Out of Debt This Christmas

In case you didn’t realize this…it’s November…which means that Christmas is a month away. Do you have a huge pile of money saved up so you can buy all those future gifts with cash?? Haha, I doubt it!

The good news is, it’s not too late! And lucky for you, frugality and outside-the-box thinking just ooze from my veins! 😉

Even though you’re starting a little late, let’s figure out how you can stay out of debt this Christmas, and how to get into January without the financial scars!

8 Ways to Stay Out of Debt This Christmas

Here’s the typical person around Christmas time. They…

  • write out their list of what they’re going to buy and for who,
  • they drive to Target or Walmart and pay full retail price for them,
  • and then they return home, wrap them, and feel satisfied in their accomplishments…

…all while racking up debt on their credit card.

This is the most popular way to shop around the holidays. But is it the best way?

Absolutely not.

And is it the only way?

Not even close.

If you want to stay out of debt this Christmas, be sure to read each of the eight tips below!

stay out of debt this Christmas

Make the Presents Yourself

Remember when you were a kid and your grandma gave you socks that she knitted herself? Well that’s not what we’re talking about here… We’re talking about making gifts that people will actually LOVE!

Do you have a skill of making something by hand? Maybe you can create car models out of wood, a breathtaking painting, or maybe it’s memorable figurines! If people keep telling you what a God-given gift you have, then this option is probably a slam-dunk for you!

If, however, you don’t think you’ve got any of those extra-special talents, there are still things you can make for practically nothing that almost everyone would want!

According to BuzzFeed’s article, 39 DIY Christmas Gifts You’d Actually Want to Receive, you could make things like:

  • A painted camera strap
  • Instagram coasters
  • A studded iPhone case
  • Tea towels
  • A Geode ring
  • Gold leaf notebooks

…and the list goes on and on! Check it out!

Search on Craigslist or Facebook

Some people just couldn’t imagine giving a used gift to someone else – it would be just appalling! But you know what? Before you stick your nose in the air and ignore this option altogether, consider this line of thinking.

You plan on spending $50 on me. I asked for a tile saw. The cheapest (decent) tile saw you could find at the store was $90…which means $100 after taxes. There is another cheapy version, but it’s still $70. OR, you could hunt on Craigslist for about 5 minutes and find a $40 gently used one that someone bought for their kitchen back-splash project…and never used again.

Which one do you think I’d rather have? The piece of crap brand new one that you overpaid for at the store? Or the gently used one that actually fit your budget and will last me a long time?

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather have the gently used one! Who cares if it’s been used? After I use it once, it’ll look the same as it does now anyway!!

Earn Some Extra Money

It’s November. Time is running out. But you can still earn some extra money for those gifts you want to buy…and it’s probably your best bet for staying out of debt this Christmas!

Sure, you’ve got your full-time job, but there’s plenty of other work that you could do to earn a few more bucks:

  • Work for your friend’s small business (we’ve pretty much all got that friend that always needs some extra help)
  • Part-time holiday work for the local retail store
  • Waiter/waitress
  • Buy and sell – buy low at a local garage sale, sell high on Craigslist and eBay (oh, and Facebook marketplace)
  • Create and sell – you know that cool stuff you can make for gifts? You could sell those too!

Related: 12 Great Holiday Jobs

Spend Less on Each Person

Let’s face it, as you get older there are just more and more people to shop for. Family, friends, and if you’re a grandparent – those exponentially growing number of grand-kids! You used to spend $50-$100 on everyone, but now that you have 30 people to shop for, it’s simply wiping out your savings account!

The solution…just spend less on each person. Instead of earmarking $50-$100 for each individual, limit yourself to spending $30-60. You’ll spend half the money and your gift recipients will probably never even notice.

Plus…you know Christmas isn’t all about the gifts, right..?

Pare Down Your Gift List

I know you like to shop for people on your street, your co-workers, and your long-distance friends, but do you really have to? Do they ever get you a gift?

You can still certainly send them something to let them know you care and that you’re thinking about them, but why not just send a hand-written card instead? It will still mean a ton to them, and it’ll only cost you a dollar or two vs. $20 or more. (P.S. Cards at the Dollar Tree are all $1.00 or less.)

Give Your Time/Services

People get busy and barely have time for themselves these days. So instead of getting them a gift card to a fancy restaurant that they might never even use (because they’re so crazy busy), why not give them a gift that will actually give them some time back?

Here’s some ideas for you:

  • Babysit
  • Clean their car
  • Clean their house
  • Be their grocery-runner

So how do you actually give this gift effectively? Simply create some vouchers in Microsoft Word and put them in a nice card. It’s so simple, and they’ll absolutely love it!

Cut Up Your Credit Cards

The most sure-fire way of staying out of debt this Christmas is to cut up your credit cards.

Sound extreme? Well, if you’ve gone into debt for all the prior Christmases and hate yourself into July (when you finally pay them off)…then I’d say this is just the right action for you. Simple, easy, and certainly effective.

Host a Potluck Instead of the Entire Meal

If hosting the Christmas dinner is spiraling you into debt, consider taking a different approach this year.

How about you make the main meat option(s) and everyone else takes their favorite dish? It’s much cheaper for you, and it’s a great way for everyone else to get a guaranteed favorite!

Will You Stay Out of Debt This Christmas?

If you ever want to be wealthy in life, you’ve got to get out of debt and stay out of debt. It’s truly that simple. And one of the most difficult times of the year to stay out of debt is Christmas time. I get it, I totally do. But you know what? If you can stay out of debt this Christmas, you could start yourself on the path to extreme financial success.

Just think! You could…

  • Get through this Christmas debt-free
  • Start paying down your other debts in the beginning of January
  • And heck, you could become completely debt-free by the end of the year!

If you can stay out of debt this Christmas, you could stay out of debt forever!

Are you ready to change your life? It starts now.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I’m not very creative or crafty so that means I shop for gifts. And because I do a lot of online shopping, I use a credit card. However, my husband and I decide in January what we plan to spend for Christmas the following December and each month save 1/12 in a savings account specifically for gift purchases. When the credit card bill arrives, we transfer the amount out of savings and write a check to pay the bill in full. No stress.

    • Dang you’re prepared! We’re not THAT good. We typically start in October and just cash flow it along the way. Liz and I are both pretty frugal, and since our net worth has been climbing nicely, we really aren’t worrying about the total.

  2. Good ideas there, Derek, most important is staying out of debt. I like Kathy’s idea of budgeting for Christmas throughout the year. That is what I do now.

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