Although we all want to be able to buy our children the latest hot toy or game console this holiday season, those of us struggling with debt problems must weigh the need to use as much of our income as possible to settle our outstanding accounts versus the need for that new gadget under the tree. Although in the short term you may feel that you are neglecting your child, the greatest gift you can possibly give them is a brighter future. A future secure in your family’s home, a future with plenty of food in the pantry, and a future of college at the school of their choice.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean that your kids have to go without this holiday season. Striking a balance between the need to save for debt resolution and giving your children a happy holiday can be found through effective holiday spending and wheeling-and-dealing. Find deals on holiday gifts online to spend as little as possible. Visit trade- and barter-oriented websites such as Barter Bart and Swap Ace to see if there is a possibility of trading an item you don’t need for that Xbox or bicycle. You can also sell off items you can live without through Craigslist or Ebay to finance your holiday spending. The idea is to spend as little of your income as possible on holiday gifts to ensure that you are putting as much as possible towards your debt settlement program.
Now that you have saved all that money on the gifts your children actually want, you also have the possibility of giving them gifts that will have a big payoff later on down the road. Savings Bonds, long-term CDs, and 529 College funds are gifts that will set your kids up for a successful future. Although they may not see the value in that small piece of paper you show them, when the time comes to pay for that Ivy League college, they will know that you have always had their best interests in mind.
So remember to balance your children’s wants this year with the need to offer them a financially secure future. In the long run, that new toy probably won’t be around in another few years, but a stable home and bright future are the gift that keeps on giving.
This article is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide legal, tax or financial analysis. Please consult your attorney, accountant or tax advisor if you have legal, financial planning, or tax related questions.