Book Reviews

Debt-Proof Your Christmas by Mary Hunt – Personal Finance Book Review

Late Thanksgiving Day recently joined Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday as part of the early holiday shopping frenzy. As November dawns, holiday advertising is already appearing online, on TV and in print.

Before you get carried away with the commercialism of the season, take some time to remind yourself of the true meaning of the holiday. They represent a time of rest, reflection and joy.

Personal Finance author Mary Hunt strikes a great balance between meaning and commodity in her book, “Debt-Proof Your Christmas,” developed from her own story of incurring holiday shopping debt there. over 20 years ago.

Hunt acknowledges that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to celebrating the holidays, as she shows readers how to have an all-cash Christmas and avoid the bills that soon follow in January. Giving gifts, entertaining at parties and dressing the house are among the many topics she covers.

It is imperative that you prepare and plan for the holidays to avoid accumulating seasonal debts. The best separator to deter becoming emotionally overdrawn during the holidays is time. “As long as you’re not emotionally involved, that’s when you can think most rationally.”

Hunt’s notable thoughts for celebrating the holidays include:

Attitude. “How you celebrate and how you pay for the Christmas vacation is entirely in your control if you make that choice,” Hunt said.

Courage. You may be single, a childless couple, or have financial difficulties and be part of a large family, expected to buy gifts for each parent. The solution is to develop the courage to give as you wish, not out of guilt or expectation. Spend what you can for what you want, not what others say you owe. Be creative with gifts.

Cash in envelopes. Set an amount you will spend on each gift recipient and place that money in an envelope. When the money is gone, it is gone, and so is buying gifts for that person.

Use cash and you’ll be a more disciplined shopper, compelled to find the best deals.

Gift cards. The increase in the number of gift cards in recent years prompts Hunt to point out that they are not the same as cash, but rather specific store credit subject to that store’s rules and policies. Hunt’s Giving Advice Gift Card includes:

  • Give a gift card when it’s at the top of the recipient’s wish list, not for your own convenience.
  • Be aware that many gift cards begin to lose value as early as six months after activation.
  • Avoid giving gift cards to children, as they are too abstract. Give money instead.

Factory outlets. Outlets have evolved into their own kind of shopping experience, requiring savvy shopping. Buying tips from Hunt include:

  • Wait for big sales. Outlets follow the same schedule as regular stores, with the best deals around major holidays.
  • Ask sellers if the merchandise is premium, brand name, or substandard, specially made for the point of sale.
  • Ask about off-season merchandise housed in the back of the store available at rock-bottom prices.

Family traditions. Traditions give families the assurance that even in uncertain times, in the midst of a changing world, there are certain things they can count on to stay the same.

A suggested tradition is to collect twenty-four books that match your family’s values ​​and beliefs for the holidays. Pack the books and, starting December 1, let your children choose and open a book before bedtime, then read it together.

Hunt polled readers for their favorite holiday books (Christmas and Hanukkah) and listed the twenty-four most popular titles.

Readers of Hunt’s website share their inspiring stories of how they’ve personalized their holiday celebrations.

A family has created a memory box, encouraging members to share their thoughts on the past year and their hopes for the future during the holidays. Every Christmas Eve, loved ones open the box and reflect on their previous entries.

Debt-Proof Your Christmas features a treasure chest of holiday-improvement websites, including an organization that distributes gifts to children in dire straits around the world, and a no-frills site that lets you bid on unclaimed items in police stolen property rooms. stations.

Hunt advises on holiday tips and charitable contributions. “The most reputable charities spend no more on administrative costs than twenty-five cents on every dollar donated.”

If you’re inspired by affirmations, Hunt offers nine to help you avoid holiday debt, including: “I’ll be keeping an eye out for December 26, when I plan to wake up knowing Christmas is all over. paid.”

Debt-Proof Your Christmas will be your year-round benchmark for achieving a meaningful, debt-free holiday season. Check out Hunt’s tips now to help you have an all-cash Christmas this year.

To organize your Christmas and simplify your holidays, go to Organized Christmas.

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