*Be sure to check out a special offer at the end of this post.
Earlier this year, I set financial goals like most of us and they largely included paying at least a third of my total debt and eliminating my car loan once and for all by the end of the year.
I can proudly say I submitted final payment on my car loan over the weekend and I can’t wait to receive the confirmation letter in the mail and be done with it.
When the holidays roll around, paying off debt and saving can be put on the back burner as a result of how all the holiday expenses affect your budget. It’s important to stay focused on your goal and prioritize it no matter what; even if it gets difficult.
These past few weeks, there have been times where I thought about doing something else with the $1,000 per month that I’ve putting toward debt. That’s no chump change and since I’m already several months ahead on my debt payments, slowing down for a month and paying the minimum wouldn’t be the end of the world.
On the contrary, I stayed true to the financial goals I set earlier this year and decided to stick with my debt payments as if holiday spending temptations didn’t even exist or bother me.
Here’s how you can do the same.
Set a Holiday Budget
Deciding how much you want to spend during the holiday season is crucial. Christmas related expenses may take up most of your money, but you can set a limit on how much you want to spend by making a detailed gift list and choosing what you need to buy and what you don’t need to buy.
For example, reusing and making decoration for my home is something I enjoy doing to save money. I also just purchase gifts for my immediate family ad do favors or bake things for other people who I want to show my appreciation for around this time of year.
Setting a strict budget can help you set expectations early on and stay focused on keeping up with the momentum and progress of paying off your debt.
Pay Your Debt First
I know the popular saying refers to paying yourself first, continuing to pay on your debt first while you save each and every month is one of the best ways to stay on track with debt payments year-round.
Even though I’m in the process of planning a wedding and doing some holiday shopping, I still allow a certain amount of money to be off limits and for debt payments only right when it gets deposited into my account.
Take your debt repayment goals seriously even if you are ahead on debt payments or might be okay if you put them off for an extra week or two. Sometimes saying yes to paying on debt might mean you have to say no to something else which brings me to my next point.
Find Joy in Something Other than Money and Gifts
This year I had to say no to some items my son asked for as Christmas gifts and limit what I was able to spend overall this season due to my commitment to paying off my debt. I didn’t have to make too many sacrifices though because I started saving up for the holidays earlier this year.
Finding happiness and enjoyment in other parts of the holiday season that don’t involve money is the best way to minimize your sacrifice overall. Enjoying traditions with family, watching holiday movies, attending free winter festivals, volunteering at church, checking out festive Christmas lights displays all around the neighborhood and having fun in the snow (whenever it comes back) are all things that I will be enjoying with my family this season to keep my mind off of spending money unnecessarily.
When you start to focus on every aspect of the holiday season, spending less in order to put more toward debt will become more natural to you.
Remind yourself what You Really Want
The holiday season is awesome and it can really lift your spirits. Don’t you want to feel that tingly happy feeling all the time? Everyone wants to relax and spend time with family and create memories during the holiday season. Once you pay off your debt, you will get even closer to financial stability which means you can enjoy your family and your loved ones more without having to worry about paying large sums of money to a lender.
Remember why you’re trying to get out of debt and be honest with yourself by working with what you have this year and keeping holiday spending and debt payments separate.
I started this blog about a year ago and put my first post up on December 7, 2014 to start documenting my journey toward becoming debt free. Since then, this blog has blossomed into something much more than my individual journey and I can’t wait to see where it ends up this time next year.
Blogging is hard work but it’s also very rewarding and I appreciate each and every one of you who come visit my site each week and take something away from my writing. You’ve all made my debt payoff journey a little less lonely this past year and I wanted to say thank you by offering this giveaway of $50 in holiday spending money to one lucky reader.
The contest will run for a week so be sure to get your entries in soon! To increase your luck, I’m offering extra entries for connecting on social media with a new podcast I am starting with some wonderful friends of mine: Erin, Kayla, and Kristi.
Thank each and every one of you again for your support and here’s to another amazing year!
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