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A new Gallup poll reports the average person plans to spend $812 on Christmas this year. If any of that spending is done with credit cards, it can complicate Christmas in a hurry.
Since using plastic doesn’t hurt as much as spending cash, you’ll probably purchase more stuff than you planned. That $812 can turn into $1,000 before you know it. It’s tough to enjoy looking at holiday lights around the neighborhood or watching Charlie Brown direct the Christmas play with the voice in your head warning you about bills that are piling up.
Why not leave your cards out in the cold this year and commit to a credit-free Christmas? Check out how Christmas without credit will put a Santa-sized smile on your face:
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1. Less holiday stress.
Anxiety melts away when you opt for cash instead of cards because you know to stop spending when the money runs out. Even if you can’t buy everything you want, you’ll hardly notice. You’ll be too busy feeling relieved about not having to make a payment next month.
2. No interest paid.
Nada. Zilch. Zip. That’s how much money you pay in interest and fees when you stay away from credit cards. You don’t have to worry about that $40 sweater you bought for your best friend costing $55 come January.
3. No risk of being hacked.
Target, TJ Maxx, Home Depot—there's a shopping list of stores whose databases have been breached by hackers. The thieves steal credit and debit card numbers and do a little Christmas shopping of their own. Use cash and don't make yourself . . . a target.
4. Surprises aren’t given away.
You may want to keep a gift for your spouse secret until Christmas morning. After all, that’s why we use wrapping paper! But it’s too easy for them to check the credit card website and see where you did your shopping. Stick with cash and keep a good poker face until December 25.
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Related: How to Give Surprise Gifts Without the Budget Telling on You
5. Nothing to pay off next year.
In 2011, a Consumer Reports survey found that 14.1 million people were still paying off their 2010 Christmas debt almost 12 months later. It’s a bummer to carry a balance on your card for that American Girl doll or stuffed Minion gift while you’re clothes-shopping for the new school year. Nix your credit cards. Your budget will thank you for it.
Switching from credit cards to cash for the holidays seems weird, doesn’t it? But once you see how much easier it is to enjoy the festivities without credit, you’ll probably want to see how it will make your January easier, then your February, and before you know it, your next Christmas.
The first step to paying for your holiday festivities is to know how much cash you have to spend. With EveryDollar, you can get this answer in less than 10 minutes and then customize your monthly budget to fit your needs. Get started now with EveryDollar!