Welcome to Christmas.  Tis the season to be broke.

In the midst of the holiday pressures, I wanted to make sure that you don’t start the upcoming year in a bad, indebted way.  Here are some financial tips to survive the Christmas season:

  1. Make a Christmas budget.  Here’s how we do it.  We establish how much money we have saved or can spend during the holidays.  We set a limit.  Before looking on our shopping list, we decide how much we can spend.  Then we make a list of people we are buying for and determine how much we can spend on each person.
  2. Buy with cash.  Going along with the budget process, the easiest way to make sure you don’t overspend is to take out your budgeted number in cash.  Get it out and as it begins to vanish, realize you can’t spend more than the cash you have.  It really helps to make sure you don’t overspend.
  3. Don’t spend money that you don’t have.  It’s simple.  If you get out the cash, you won’t use credit.  You don’t bless your family by getting stressed out financially.  Going in debt to buy more stuff for people who already have enough is unwise.  Simple concept: do not spend money that you do not have.
  4. Don’t buy out of obligation.  I know about this trap.  You buy gifts for people who you think are going to buy for you.  Is that a good reason?  Don’t get caught up in obligation.  You can show people you love them without spending a ton on them.
  5. Give presence rather than presents.  If you are strapped financially, give something of yourself away versus another trinket.  Find a poem to give (or even write one).  Create a coupon book in which you can serve your loved one (house cleaning, etc.).  Make a video on your computer for your parents.  Quantity of dollar signs spent don’t equal your quality of love for someone.

Be careful this season.

Don’t celebrate Jesus by going broke.

Travis Agnew is married to Amanda and the father of two sons and one daughter. He serves as the Senior Pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is What God Has Joined Together.