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Christmas is the time of year to be cheerful! Well, it's supposed to be, correct? Sadly, because of debt, being jolly isn't a part of a lot of American's emotions during the holidays.  Christmas comes around each year, but how many people really plan to have a zero-debt holiday?  Because of money issues, the most wonderful time of the year has become the "Grinch."  There are steps you can take to guarantee you have a zero-debt Christmas. Keep reading and learn how.

First step, use cash instead of credit!  That means changing your spending habits. Start by making fewer trips to the bank, and withdraw only the exact amount of money you need for purchases.  The best method to achieve this is by developing a Christmas list in advance. Also, January is the best time to begin saving for December's spending.  Matter of fact, set up a saving's plan exclusively for Christmas spending from January to November.  Next, decide the full amount you want to spend on gifts, and divide it by the number eleven. For example, if the shopping amount is $500.00 divide it by eleven, which is $45.45 per month.  Lastly, set up a separate bank account to deposit the $45.45 automatically, or set the money aside in an envelope each month and hide it.  If you stick to your plan, by December you will have $500.00 set aside for Christmas shopping!  

A few additional ways to enjoy a "zero-debt" Christmas is to use a piggy bank to store spare change. Let the money accumulate, then deposit it every month into a bank account.  At the end of the year you will be surprised to see how much you have saved.  Additionally, give baked goodies as gifts or a hand-made gift. A hand-made card, picture or painting is priceless!

Don't let debt spoil your holidays.  Plan ahead, use "cash" not credit and your creative talents, and you will have a very Merry Christmas!

Sharman Lawson a columnist on Fabulously40, and a financial coach, speaker, and author of the book 12 Steps to Eliminate Debt Forever! Visit her website: [Link Removed]

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