1.It’s not an emergency. Christmas is not an emergency, it happens every year. Don’t use this as an excuse to overspend and buy things you can’t afford.
2.Make a Holiday Budget. Make a list of everyone you are buying a gift for, and put a dollar amount by every name. Total it at the bottom. This is your Christmas budget. You can also check outwww.mychristmasbudget.com, a free online budgeting tool to help you easily keep the holidays from wrecking your finances.
3.Pay cash. Put the total from your budget in an envelope, and when the cash is gone stop spending. This will help keep you on budget because if you overspend on Aunt Sue, Uncle Harry won’t get a gift!
4.Avoid debt. If you’re running a little short on cash, talk to your family about spending expectations. Draw names, set price limits or get creative. Whatever you do, don’t go into debt. It’s not worth it!
*Dave Ramsey is America’s trusted voice on money and business. He’s authored four New York Times best-selling books: Financial Peace, More Than Enough, The Total Money Makeover and EntreLeadership. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 6 million listeners each week on more than 500 radio stations. Follow Ramsey on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.