It’s December 1st and the Christmas countdown has well and truly begun. Here’s the big question.
How will you shop? With cash? Debit? Credit card?

If you watch any television, likely you have seen the amusing commercial where the army of Nutcracker Princes chant “Debt, debt, debt…” in time with the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. But the commercial makes good sense. Using cold hard cash is the best way to keep your holiday spending on budget.

Studies have shown that shoppers spend more freely when they use plastic, both debit and credit, because they are not constrained by the bills and coins in their wallet. A credit card, of course, is the most costly way to shop, because unless you pay off your purchases in full within the month, interest accumulates. Using debit gives you instant access to all the cash available in your bank account. It’s incredibly convenient. It’s also very easy to succumb to the allure of that really special gift, and spend over budget.

Cash in hand is hands down the surest way to shop within your budget.

Here’s holiday shopping advice from the Goldhar shed the debt professionals:
1. Write down all the people on your gift list.
2. Set a spend amount that feels right for each of them.
3. Add up the total spend and make sure your cashflow can handle it.
4. Surf the internet or stroll through the mall to get an idea of what gifts you can find in your price ranges.
5. Don’t buy as you go. Take the time to plan what’s right and what’s affordable, and then go back to the website or the store and make the purchase.
6. Take cash to the mall so you’re not tempted to go over budget.
7. For online purchases, use debit or paypal if possible. And don’t forget to factor in the cost of shipping.
8. If you must use a credit card, transfer money from your bank account to the card as soon as you make the purchase.

Follow this plan and you’ll be in control of your holiday spending, and enjoy the pleasure of gift-giving without worrying about how to make ends meet the day after Christmas.

Happy Holidays!
From Goldhar your Ontario shed the debt professionals.