Dealing with Holiday Debt and a $100 Giveaway

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Helping you deal with holiday debt!

Did the holidays leave a bitter bad debt aftertaste in your mouth?  Well we’re here to offer you support, encouragement, and $100 cash to help you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back on track with your own Debt Free Adventure.

I am honored to be partnering up with Steve a.k.a. “@GetOutOfDebtGuy” who provides unmatchable debt help on his site Get Out Of Debt.org to offer DFA readers a $100 cash prize.  Entering to win is easy and the winner will be chosen randomly from the comments.

How to enter and win

To be eligible to win all you must do is leave a comment on this post along with a comment on Steve’s (Giving Away $100. Tell Us Your Plan For Dealing With Holiday Bills) post by January 15th. The lucky winner will receive $100 cash via PayPal on January 16, 2010 to spend, anyway they want.

Your comment should simply tell us if you have holiday debt and how you plan to deal with it.

  • Should you pay off the debt ASAP?
  • Should you spread the debt repayment out over the course of the year?
  • Did you save money for holiday spending throughout 2009 thus leaving you holiday debt free?

Whatever you holiday debt situation is… let us know about it – how you got into it, and how you plan to get out.

Use the Holiday Debt Help comments for ideas

The goal Steve and I have for this contest is to raise awareness toward the issue of holiday debt, offer needy readers a $100 shot in the arm, and to create a database of ideas for everyone to share and to use to help rid themselves of debt.

So whether you’re in a holiday debt pickle or you managed to avoid holiday debt altogether, leave your comments so you have a chance to win and as a way to help others gain victory over their holiday debt.

**Remember** to be eligible to win the $100 you must leave a comment on this post and on Steve’s holiday debt post.

Godspeed and good day.



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1 FernWise

I did all the holiday shopping here – cash. Because we’re in debt enough already.

Husband is FINALLY on board about paying off all existing debt. Darn near all ‘non-essential’ spending has been cut out. Haven’t been to a movie in ages – last one was part of a vacation. Meals out almost eliminated, down to one a month. Gave up CSA organic food membership. Dropped other subscriptions. Etc.

Son might have to take a year off of college, too, depending on how things work out – since he has no college loans he won’t face having to pay those off if he takes time off.

Frondly Fern

2 Matt Jabs

I’m super glad you were able to bring your husband on board Fern… being financially unified is so powerful.

3 Financial Samurai

Nice giveaway guys!

I plan to 100% pay off ALL my holiday/credit card debt by Dec 31, 2009. 2010 is a new beginning, and I won’t allow any 2009 debt to carry over in my new beginning. The $100 will definitely be used to paying down debt.

Here’s a chance to renew and start fresh!

Merry Christmas!

Sam

4 bbee

We have limited ourselves to a budgeted amount,our gifting to others includes our time,energy and skills to help w/projects.

5 Dave - LifeExcursion

I am lucky that this and the last 5 years or so have just used cash to buy XMAS gifts. I think I am pretty responsible when it comes to holiday shopping.

My advice to survive financially through XMAS…

Save a specific amount every month of the year and deposit into an used bank account or hidden envelope. Then the damage won’t be so painful.

David Damron
LifeExcursion

6 Matt Jabs

Great advice Dave, my wife and I do not spend much on Christmas, but we do budget around $60/month for other gifts throughout the year… once you start tracking it’s hard to believe how a gift here and there can add up fast!

7 Heidi

Was on track to pay for Christmas with cash…until the husband decided he HAD to have a bigger television to watch all those college football bowl games (two steps forward and one step back)…any and all extra income goes to pay off the tv!

8 Matt Jabs

Ouch Heidi – I suggest lovingly asking him to attend Dave Ramsey’s FPU classes. They are a great way to get spouses on the same page.

9 Denis Kristanda

I opened no-monthly-fee-saving-account just for xmas account. Every month squeeze $50 – $100 to this account and it will be good cash to spend on next Christmas – without debt…!

For better 2010 ! Well done, Steve and Matt!

10 Matt Jabs

Awesome Denis… I love hearing success stories.

11 Mike

No Christmas debt directly, but since I’m stilling using student loans for grad school we do have some debt. We are working on paying it off in much less than the 10 years after I graduate in May.

12 Matt Jabs

Get rid of it ASAP Mike – ASAP! :-)

13 Surayah Davis

Happy Holidays!!

YES! YES! YES!…I’m paying off all of my debt asap….I’ve been carrying around this ‘ball and chain’ of debt for too long and refuse to let it occupy my future.

As far as spreading it out….I’m sacrificing now so that I can relax later (and believe you me-I intend to R-E-L-A-X)

I didn’t really plan for holiday spending (and I didn’t do any spending)…so when 2010 enters, there will be no new debt: just the old ones that I’m paying off.

14 Matt Jabs

Crazy Surayah, you nearly quoted my financial philosophy to the tee… which is, “Sacrifice now to benefit later.” Godspeed.

15 Matt

No holiday debt! For 2 years, I have had an ING account named ‘Christmas Fund’. I have deposited $75 per month = which gives me a whole $900 to spend on everyone in my family including my wife.

16 Matt Jabs

Wow Matt – great job saving, but that is a TON of money to spend on Christmas gifts… will you be lowering those amounts or are you happy to spend that much? I understand amounts are relative.

17 Erica Douglass

I spent $1124.21 this year on gifts for other people. (Yep, still tracking to the penny!) Here’s how it breaks down:

$548.20 Laptop for my parents — the one I bought for them a couple years ago finally broke and they travel enough that a laptop is really worthwhile. Used Lenovo “friend of employee” discount + coupon code to get absolute lowest price.

$323.57 Penguin soda maker for Richard, so he can have fizzy water any time. He was spending big bucks on cases of San Pellegrino and he uses the soda maker every day, so I’d say that was a win.

$30.44 2x$15 iTunes gift cards for cousins, plus stamp to mail them. I bought $60 worth at Costco and got a bit of a discount, and used the other $30 for myself.

$204.00 $100×2 donations to my cousins’ 529 college funds, plus 2x$2 processing fees since I used freshmanfund.com to donate.

$18.00 Donation of mosquito nets via Oxfam America Unwrapped in my other aunt and uncle’s name.

I focus on gifts that will help people instead of meaningless stuff.

I was going to write about Christmas gifts that encourage saving on my blog, but much of my family reads it. Perhaps a bit too late for a guest post on it, so this comment will have to do. ;)

-Erica

18 Matt Jabs

Ha ha, I’ll take it Erica.

If you are going to spend money on gifts there are two things that should be considered. 1. You should spend money you actually have and have saved. 2. You should buy gifts that people actually need.

It sounds like you are spot on. Nice work!

PS… where’s my laptop? ;-)

19 Andrew

Fortunately, I have no holiday debt, because I never spend money I don’t already have except for major expenses.

20 Matt Jabs

Why do you do it with major expenses?

21 Pete @ Bible Money Matters

Great giveaway Matt and Steve! To deal with our holiday debt, we saved up this year and paid cash for everything that we bought – and in the end – that meant no debt at all! In past years we’ve done the old “put it on the credit card” shopping spree type christmas shopping -but this year we’re paying with cash, and not worrying about debt afterwards!

22 SailboatFamily

Zero debt. We buy all presents (Christmas, birthday, etc.) out of season when there is a good buy on an item, with cash, and put the gifts in the closet until gift time. For example, the local Disney store had a sale 6 months ago on their princess backpacks …. 5 dollars a piece! Normally listed at $19.99, we knew it was a good deal and we knew we would have a “need” to give them away (we have 2 young daughters … .so plenty of birthday parties). We bought 12 of them, and over the holidays we gave away the last 3. Oh, those same backpacks are back up to $19.99. :)

23 Matt Jabs

Smart. If you’re going to buy – that’s the way to do it.

24 carol

We made a budget when we started shopping for the holidays. We stayed within the budget so we are not in debt due to the holidays. For 2010 we’ve already made a budget and plan to save each month for birthdays and holidays always looking for great deals so we can try to come under budget. This Christmas was pretty frugal compared to past but the children appreciated the gifts they received more. We also purchased games rather than personal electronic devices to provide more family fun times together.

25 Matt Jabs

Surprisingly, children usually appreciate the frugal/sensible gifts more than the commercial gifts – because they recognize true value.

26 Tammy

An $1,100.00 credit card balance proves I did not do well this year. Winning the $100.00 would almost eliminate 10% of the debt. Thank you for the opportunity!

27 Bucksome

Wonderful idea for a giveaway!

We’re on a debt free adventure and didn’t allow ourselves to add any debt this holiday season. If I won, the prize would go towards debt, it just wouldn’t be from holidays 2009!

P.S. Good luck on your personal finance miracle.

28 Matt Jabs

Thank you! And you can’t go wrong paying down debt. :-)

29 John

I did not run up any holiday debt. I only mailed some Christmas cards. I already feel like student loans are literally killing me; and they are for a two year degree from 97 that I did not even get a job in and I graduated with honors. Just the interest is about $210 every 30 days. I haven’t had a real vacation in about twenty years; a vacation is just staying home. I do not have a television or a bed. I don’t drive if I don’t really have to. I have been eating oatmeal everyday with a few exceptions for about two years. I canceled my health and dental insurance. $100 would be for a bill.

30 Matt Jabs

Keep cutting costs where possible and looking for side work. Be faithful and spend less than you earn… if you do that, you will eventually win with money.

31 Joe

Didn’t spend a dime I didn’t have on holiday shopping. We had a wonderful time with all 5 kids and family. Everyone was thrilled they didn’t spend money they didn’t have to buy things they couldn’t afford to impress people they didn’t really like.

Peace.

32 Matt Jabs

Awesome Joe… simply awesome!

33 Gretchen

To deal with holiday debt, my husband and I bought some presents early on in November to spread out the cost. We are also going to try to spend less during the month of January to make up for December.

34 sandra jensen

I PROMISE the whole $100 will go straight to debt! Thanks for this great inspirational giveaway!

35 Simon Zhen

Recently, I’ve begun paying dental school applications and the test, which easily amounted to $1,000 in my credit card. My friends and family know about my goals and we’ve made a pact this year – no gift exchanges with me. Instead, we just went out to have a nice dinner and chill.

Since the $1,000 is on a 0% APR card for the next 10 months, the $100 would certainly help with student loans – which has begun charging interest. College was fun but expensive!

36 Shannon F.

We buy gifts with the gifts (cash) we get! No DEBT!

37 Jeff

This was our second debt free Christmas. The difference for us this year was that we included it in our budget. This was the first year we budgeted and we made sure to include a “Gifts for others” and a “Gifts for us” category. Each of these was funded with a small amount totaling up to $500 for the year. It worked great for us and we were able to finish shopping on Nov 27th and get some very cool stuff for everyone.

We have zero stress and zero buyers remorse over our spending, what a GREAT feeling.

38 Matt B

After an unexpected trip to the hospital in early December, coupled with a very expensive shopping season, yeah, there’s some extra debt. Family and a second job should help immensely…(but so would a cool $100!).

39 jessica

We did all cash this holiday. Our total budget was $600 and we spent $558 including Xmas dinner. Best Xmas ever–to have no Holiday Hangover in January. If we had charged, we’d advocate paying off ASAP–maybe even before the bill comes. Christmas isn’t a blessing if you’re paying it back the rest of the year and worrying about the next time it comes ’round. That’s why there’s so many angry people in shopping malls this time of year. No way, not for me. I’m celebrating the Savior’s birth with a smile on my face and the real reason for the season in my heart.

40 Karen

Saved for our holiday spending throughout the year, so…no debt added. We have done it this way for the last 10 years and plan to continue!

41 Evolution Of Wealth

I did almost all of my holiday shopping in cash. I probably used about $100 on a credit card which will easily be paid off next month. The only other cost I did incur is that I didn’t pay extra on my credit cards as I usually do so the debt that I do have and am on pace to pay off will be delayed by about a month. Christmas is special, what can I say.

42 Karthik

Great giveaway! I shopped with cash so it was a ‘holiday debt’ free holidays for me. That’s the best way to do it so you don’t have the guilt hanging over your head come January 1st.

43 Caroline B.

We will not have any holiday debt because we put away money in a savings account for the holidays each year.

44 Money Funk

No holiday debt this year! Yeah! With $100 I would add it to my WF Visa. We’ve submitted $150 extra this last month and would love to continue paying it down to $0.

45 Maci

For the first time in I don’t know how many years we did NOT go into debt for the holidays!!! We had a plan and stuck to it – even though it was hard…we were tempted…especially when our daughter wouldn’t stop talking about how much she wanted a Nintendo DSi…but we stuck to our plan and are so proud we did! Now we can continue to focus on our existing debt and are so happy we didn’t add to it!

46 Eric Poulin

My wife and I have a budget entry for Christmas presents and we actually managed to underspend on gifts this year, and actually came ahead from what we had planned.
We did pay with credit cards, but that will be paid off almost immediately thanks to a good plan.

47 PunkRockChic

Awesome giveaway! I came across your site by doing a search for homemade laundry detergent, which I’m planning on making and trying out this week. My husband and I are also trying to crawl out the debt we’ve gotten ourselves into. Wonderful website!

48 Erin

Stumbled upon your blog a fwe months ago, thanks for recommending another one.

49 Monica M.

We buy gifts throughout the year when things are on sale. Just makes it more enjoyable during the holidays!

50 Mike G.

Mid-year we worked to get our family back on a budget, including a Christmas budget. We did well sticking to the Christmas budget, but because we didn’t start our family budget until mid-year, didn’t have enough to cover gifts with cash. We’ll pay our Christmas debt ($2K) ASAP, then start 2010 with a budget that will allow us to save cash for next Christmas.

51 Melissa

I don’t have any holiday debt, but I would use $100 to paydown my car loan.

52 Olivia

I did not incur any holiday debt this year. My husband and I are trying our hardest to get out of our current debt and didn’t want to add any more to the pile. This $100 would be a great addition to our debt repayment. Thank you for the wonderful chance at a little extra cash.

53 April B

Oh boy, holiday debt. Where do I start?! yes, my husband and I have enormous debts, some of it is definitely from holidays. I’m probably still paying on Christmas 2008! yes, it would be nice to pay it off ASAP, and I would if I could. No, do not spread it out! What about all the interest you will pay? No, we did not save money in 2009 for Christmas ahead of time, but we have a plan for 2010. It will be tough, but we are doing it one day at a time!

54 Matt Jabs

Hey April, yeah debt should be paid off ASAP, but sometime people have to spread it out because they simply spent more than they can afford to pay.

55 Minority Fortune

Luckily, there was no debt involved for our holiday shopping. Our gifting list was very small, and we made sure to score great deals and practiced frugality to keep the budget in tact. However $100 towards student loan debt is always a good thing. :)

56 Jess

Should you pay off the debt ASAP? I didn’t incur any debt this year for the holidays.

Should you spread the debt repayment out over the course of the year? I think holiday debt needs to be repaid asap. Why carry it till the end of the next “holiday season”;Needless to say other unexpected expenses could occur. Must be prepared.

Did you save money for holiday spending throughout 2009 thus leaving you holiday debt free? YES, I shop after xmas sales and others thru out the times i’ve shopped. ALSO, i’ve made it a verbal annoucement to many of my close friends that I’m not fond of buying gifts just to celebrate the Holidays and prefer the quality company. If I give a gift it’s prob small but a lot of love.

57 Matt Jabs

Way to go Jess! Doesn’t it feel great? :-)

58 Esther

We are planning on using the cash and giftcards we received for Christmas in place of our “mad money” and “gifts” budgeted alotment for the month of Jan. This will save us $500 to put toward…you know it…DEBT reduction!!

59 Matt Jabs

Oh Esther… “debt reduction” – those words are like music to my ears!

60 Jason @ Redeeming Riches

What the wifey and I do is this:

Whenever a “three-paycheck-month” comes up we take that and save that money on the side. Our budget is for 2 paychecks a month, which leaves this extra money for holiday spending leaving us DEBT FREE!

61 thisisbeth

I like to put it this way: I didn’t add to my debt this holiday season. I put aside a little bit each paycheck for gifts (that will also pay for birthday presents). I can now work on paying off the pre-holiday debt without added holiday debt.

62 BudgetsaretheNewBlack

What a fun giveaway! You’re like financial twins, or something.

Of the $715 we spent on gifts this Christmas the only reason I put $84 of it on a credit card was because I was too lazy to get off the couch to get my debit card number when I was ordering something online! We are working on our debt snowball so we saw no reason to add to it for the holidays.

63 Matt Jabs

Lol, giveaway twins.

Way to be responsible with your debt snowball.

64 Kari

I put all my gifts on my credit cards to get the rewards since I don’t carry a balance. More than half of the gifts are already paid for and the rest will be paid off before the bills are due in February. I did save up through the second half of the year and will save throughout this year.

65 Matt Jabs

Good work Kari, just shop carefully because human nature will spend more w/credit purchases than with debit, and especially more than with cash… unless specific focus is employed.

66 Joan

Thanks for the giveaway!
How will we deal with holiday bills? We won’t have any!! We talked it over, decided on an amount to spend, saved a little each month this year, and did not go over that amount when Christmas came! The kids were still thrilled with what they received and we’re happy to not have gone into debt for gifts!

67 Matt Jabs

Isn’t it simply wonderful to enjoy the fruit of your good choices?!

68 Rebekah

Well I was actually good for the holidays…I didn’t buy any gifts, however I was not good prior to the holidays. I have consolidated the debt to a low APR, and I don’t plan to add to it. So my plan is to keep plugging away until it’s payed off.

69 Mom

Hi Matt, I have a story to tell about this year’s Christmas holiday spending strategy! There is a website that I patronize daily, The Animal Rescue Site. It is part of the Greater Good Network, which includes sites that help causes like literacy, breast cancer, world hunger, children, etc. Whenever I go to the site I am presented with opportunities to shop for things that are made by local artisans in poor countries. It is called fair trade, and the money spent goes directly to the people in the countries to help them to find a sustainable way of life through their artistic efforts. It is NOT charity. I shopped the Greater Good site throughout the year, following their sales and free offers. I bought many of my gifts for cash on that site at a reduced rate or for FREE!. By doing so, I also helped people less fortunate than I. I also utilized the wonderful information about homemade household products that I found on your site. I made gift boxes for family members that included a selection of those products! Thanks! Debt Free Adventure! I also supported my local economy by following sales and purchasing gifts for cash over the course of the past year. Through my efforts, I was able to stay out of debt this Christmas, I was able to share my personal philosophy of being an ecologically responsible earth dweller, and I was able to support both my local economy and the economies of less priveleged people around the world, AND the gifts were beautiful and very much appreciated by family and friends! I had a stress free and very enjoyable Christmas as a result!

70 Ann

already paid off CC I used for online shopping (210.24)…in full. one more bill coming in the end of January (Kohl’s) that I plan to pay half then and then half in February.

To avoid using CC at all next Christmas (I am working on pay the big ones off!) I restarted my Christmas club savings at my CU so everything next year will be CASH

71 Wendy Wishon

My answer to nuking my holiday bills is not creating any to begin with. I had a heart to heart with my family and decided that all of us being out of debt was more important than gifts. I have spent all of 2009 chipping away at my debt and I feel better about it every month. Now if the banks will play fair, I will be fine (fingers crossed!)
Thanks for the great blog and happy holidays!

72 Derek

Luckily I had no debt created through my shopping. Used my debit card / cash for everything.

73 Lynnae

I don’t have any holiday debt. We saved through the year to pay for Christmas. It’s a great feeling, when you don’t have to face piles of bills in January!

74 Ken

We paid for a laptop with a credit card. $375. We will pay it back $100 a month from extra income earned from my wife’s babysitting job.

75 Lorie

What holiday bills? My husband & I have been married over 7 years & have never had a credit card since we got married. So, there’s never any bills from the holidays. Thank God. We’re on a very tight budget & spend as little as possible each year.

76 Shirley Aschen

I don’t have any holiday debt. I spread my shopping throughout the year, starting in August. I just paid off my last credit card in December, so I’m going into 2010 with a whole new outlook!

The $100 would go in my emergency fund.

77 Olivia

It can be done. We have no Christmas debt. We budget, buy on sale, use coupons and rebates throughout the year, make, redeem survey points, refurbish, hit yard sales, thrift and discount stores, and use Wisebread’s Deals listings. The only thing that’s a bit hard to anticipate is postage. Thanks for everyones’ comments, especially “Mom”.

78 Lakita

My advice is to pay off holiday debt (any debt) as soon as possible. If it is a regret, then make it a resolution not to do the same thing in 2010, then take action steps to ensure your success.

- Assess how much was spent over the holidays. More or less than usual? Are there areas where you could have cut back? Are there areas where you did cut back but wish you had more? Use that to set your budget for next year.

- Find out how many pay periods are between now and Nov. 15, 2010 (or whatever target date) and divide that by your holiday spending target goal.

- If the amount can be saved without compromising your budget, then save in a high yield account. If not, slash the holiday budget down to what is reasonable and repeat.

79 Cindy

We have been debt free the last few Christmases, thanks to Dave Ramsey’s plan to prepare for Christmas (did you know it’s December 25 AGAIN this year?!) We use the envelope system and save a certain amount of money each month all year. Then at Christmas time, everyone we buy for is assigned an amount that we spend on them. We usually buy for the same people each year (kids, parents, charity, etc) so it makes it easy.

Our entire budget is based on the envelope system (we use the electronic Mvelopes version), but you can use old fashioned paper envelopes (my mother-in-law still does) or some type of a spreadsheet/log to divide your money into separate areas. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated.

I love being debt free except for the house. When you start to detach yourself from “stuff”, it becomes much easier to say no and focus on your long term goals.

80 Kelly

We incurred a small amount of debt to pay for holiday gifts. I would rather have paid in “cash” IE debit, but we ended up a little short due to some unexpected expenses.

Instead of dipping into our baby emergency fund or cutting back our snowball I opted to use the card. We paid 1/2 off Christmas Eve, and will pay the rest off Monday (once a check clears). I used extra money to pay off the debt so it didn’t effect our snowball or our emergency fund.

It felt kind good to know I could pay it off almost immediately.

If I won the $100 I would use it to pay down even more debt. That $100 puts us just a bit closer to being debt-free!

81 Kim

We also save all year for Christmas. I even came out a head this year with money still in my Christmas budget at the end. We will be adding that amount to our college fund for my two children in college. Every penny helps. Thanks for the chance to add to that fund.

82 DiscipleshipGuy

This is a great idea to have a $100 giveaway. I think the best way my wife and I would use $100 is to give a portion to each of our kids and teach them what it is, how it can be used, and ask them what they think the best thing to do with it would be. Keep up the good work Matt!

83 Shannon Lutz

Hey Matt,

Great idea! I don’t have any holiday debt. My family and I did a Chinese auction with a $20 limit for Christmas this year. It was the most fun we have had in years, sitting around laughing at each other and watching my 86 year old grandmother get excited and sing Christmas songs!!

I do have a goal for this year however. I am jumping in head first with the goal of paying off my car loan this year. My goal is NOT to eat out at all this year, record the $ I save when others ask me to go out and I don’t or I go and don’t order in a small journal, and then use that money to make extra payments on the car loan. I did this for the first time yesterday after church when my friends asked me to go out to eat and watch the Panthers’ game. I went along, took some raw almonds to eat, and did not order. My friend spent $20 so my first day was a success ($20 I will apply to my car loan). Yay!! Of course, there will be some exceptions when I do eat out, (I am allowing myself $120 for the entire year – all cash) to use for those times when I must go out.

Shannon Lutz

84 Matt Jabs

Excellent idea Shannon… stick to your guns, you will not believe how much you will save by not dining out. My wife and I saved over $5,000 in 2009 by doing exactly what you just said. Another side perk??? We lost 60 combined pounds. By not eating out we started cooking more, and so we started eating much healthier and now we much prefer to eat at home. Now we only go out to eat on special occasions, and allow ourselves $40/month to do so, although we have yet to spend all of it in any given month.

85 Renski

In past years, we’ve racked up $100′s in bills over the holidays. With times so tough, we’ve learned that it’s not worth the (your words) “bitter after-taste” when you open those credit card bills. We have no holiday debt this year and it feels great! We set an amount that we planned to spend on (1) kid’s gifts, (2) holiday photos, cards and clothing and (3) holiday meals. $45/mo from each of us ($360/per category) and we even have a little left over. Yes, it was hard not to buy that cute new ornament and go without a “gift”, but it was still a joyous holiday without the financial hangover.

86 Matt Jabs

It does feel great doesn’t it??!! :-) Way to go.

87 Chris Thorpe

I’m fortunate in that I don’t have any holiday debt, so I’d plan to pay down an extra $100 on my mortgage since that’s my only remaining debt. My plan is to pay it off in the 7 years or less so I’m debt-free when my oldest daughter is ready to go to college!

88 Shannon Nobles

I did not have any direct holiday debt, since I began my debt payoff plan in late October, but I still have credit card payments from previous years holiday debt that I am working on! I am no longer using credit cards, stick to a serious budget and use cash only, to help keep me on track spending wise. If I don’t have the cash on me, I do not consume. It is a very difficult adjustment, but I plan to have all my debt paid off in six years, when I’ll make my last student loan and car payment!

89 Jeremiah Napier

I got e few gifts that I wasn’t overly fond of this year, so I am keeping the good one’s, taking back the one’s that just don’t do it for me. I am using that money to pay of the debt I had, plus a little overtime at work. The funny thing is that some people end up paying for their own gifts that way, but hey what better way to use that tacky sweater you got this year.

90 Matt Jabs

Ha ha, great philosophy Jeremiah… maybe I should write an article about that! :-)

91 Jason@LiveRealNow

We did a pretty good job of not going into debt for the holidays. We went over budget a bit, but that will be paid off this week. We’re firmly on the envelope system and almost completely off cards of any type.

92 Mrs. Money

I didn’t have any this year! I plan on paying of my car loan this year though!

93 fern

I never incur debt for holiday shopping and since i was laid off last fall, i sure didn’t change that this year.

94 Eva Sido

Eight kids and all cash spending. Actually, I tell the kids we are not buying anything for Christmas. My five years old proudly tells people she is getting hugs and kisses for Christmas. In reality we have family with cash resources to buy for Christmas and we buy a few things to fill in any holes. But I would rather deal with the kids’ disappointment than put family in debt. I call it Jesus’ Birthday as much as Christmas. Just to try to change the cultural mind set in my kids.

95 Matt Jabs

Excellent points Eva… I like the latter about challenging your cultural mindset. Many times we have no idea just how much of an impact television and marketing have on our culture and the way we think!

96 Stacy

Love your new look. I am trying to find the laundry soap recipe for my cousin and it isn’t where it used to be. I have it memorized b/c I made it SO many times but I want to share your site w/ her so I will do that. We were sharing grocery saving tips. My husband and I have been working on becoming debt free since July. Still working on it. I love your site which I found on a Google search while looking for “make your own laundry detergent” and I love it. I want to try the dishwasher one too so I will look on your site for that next. I hope all of those things are still on here somewhere.

We paid cash for our FEW Christmas gifts for your children this year and have made/built the rest of them ourselves. We are playing catch up w/ our “pay off plan” though having used some of that money for the gifts. AT LEAST we don’t have any holiday bills for the first time. Just trying to make ends meet and pay the regular ones is hard enough!! We will get there and I thank you so much for your time and effort on this site. You are helping so many people out here.

97 carole

I was very careful buying Xmas gifts this year. I tried to buy inexpensive but thought filled gifts. Honestly I didn’t feel that anyone really liked my gift.
Still as you say the bills are coming. I am planning to live like a church mouse this month and maybe next.

98 Richard

My two cents… . I put away a little each month into a Christmas fund. Set it on auto-pilot. Then to save time, gift cards for everyone. It helped me tremendously.

99 Lori

Pay off the smallest and then work to the largest. I am excited to say there is very little debt for us in Jan. Yippee.

100 David H.

The holidays were extra rough for me this year, but very blessing. I purchased an engagement ring that was definitely way too much, and I proposed to my now fiance down in St Lucia over the Holidays. We stayed for a week which was my Christmas gift to her this year. I visited several jewelers to make sure I was getting a good deal, but everytime it seemed like I wanted to spend more and more on a gift that wasn’t even for myself. To get out of this mess which is several thousand dollars, I’ve already started withholding $200 of my normal $450-500 that I save each paycheck and putting it into a high interest savings account so I can pay this ring off while it is 0%. My resolution this year is to do no more 0% offers or 90 days same as cash.

101 Jen Dubbs

contest entry please. Around Feb/March of 2009 – I finally got around to setting up automatic withdrawals to a Credit Union. I only put $6.50/month into the Christmas Club account they have – but it did come in handy in December. I had also made small deposits throughout the year whenever I had a small windfall. I would divide it up between regular savings account, vacation club account, and christmas club.

102 Beckey & Jeff

We started our Debt Free Adventure in June 2009 and are sticking to it. We paid cash only for Christmas this year and will continue to do so. We are working on our plan and will be Debt Free by 10-2012. Yay!

103 sandra jensen

I am putting our tax refund to pay off our credit card, and working on snowflaking – went easy on Christmas this year, so hopefully it will happen fast!

104 Ernest S.

I’ve got a little bit a debt from the holidays, but I am planning to apply a portion of my tax return to it. Also, I’ve been selling a bunch of unwanted presents that I received on eBay/Half, and putting the money toward paying out the holiday debt.

105 Matt Jabs

And the winner of the $100 Holiday Debt Giveaway Challenge is…………..

Karthik!

We will be contacting you by email then delivering $100 into your PayPal account today (Saturday, 1/16/2010.)

Congratulations! Make sure to use the money wisely. ;-)

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