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According to CNBC, about 74% of Americans admit they didn’t budget properly for the holidays, with the average family racking up approximately $1,054.00 of debt. Assuming these families are facing an APR of 15.9% and making a minimum payment of $25 a month, it would take them each more than 5 years to pay down that tab and cost them over $500 in interest – nearly half of the original debt! In order to avoid the debt snowball that the holidays can bring, it’s wise to plan ahead of time. The American Bankers Association recommends:

  • Drafting a list of all the people that you plan to shop for that contains items and estimated costs. Search for deals and avoid shopping on impulse!
  • Budgeting for additional expenses such as gift wrap, cards, shipping, meals, travel, and décor. The holiday cost spans beyond just the gift exchange – be prepared for it all!
  • Use cash whenever possible and limit your credit card spending. The holidays are prime-time for fraudulent activity, so do review your credit card statements in detail.

If there never seems to be enough money to handle all of the expenses the holiday season can bring, these 6 tips can add more money to your pocket, preventing you from going into debt. 

Vacation Rental

Consider renting your home as an Airbnb while you and your family are away. Guests that stay within your home are well vetted and rated beforehand, and you can easily store important documents and valuables in a local self-storage unit at minimal cost to keep items secure.

Sell Your Clothing

Looking to maximize space in your home or simply get rid of some clothing that no longer fits your style or waistline? Sell your lightly used clothing on websites such as thredUP, helping you declutter your closets while earning some extra cash. A win-win!

Cash in!

If you have some spare change sitting throughout your home, bring it to your local Coinstar machine. You can get hard cash at a minimal fee, or choose a gift card for an online or local retailer or restaurant with no fee at all!

Sell Items Online

If you have any used books, DVD’s, CD’s or electronics lying around, you can create an Amazon sellers account or Ebay account and sell them to other users online. Best of all, if you’re into garage sales and thrift stores, you can create a lucrative little side business for the entire year, keeping inventory within a nearby self-storage unit.

Rideshare, Shop or Deliver

Between Favor Delivery, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and Instacart, there are countless ways you can make your own hours and drive for cash, putting aside what you need for the holidays and beyond (with some families using the extra money towards emergency savings or a vacation).

Shop Smart!

Numerous apps are available to help you find the best deals, rebates and cash back on items you buy on a weekly basis (including groceries). With so many to choose from, finding one that fits your shopping habits is a breeze!

When discussing the holidays, Bill Murray once said it’s the one time a year where, “…we all act a little nicer, we smile a little easier, we cheer a little more. For a couple of hours out of the whole year, we are the people that we always hoped we would be.” Here’s to allowing this holiday season to be your best yet, without the threat of debt lurking over your shoulder. With various opportunities to earn extra income—along with storage ideas to keep your holiday operation organizedthis may be the first holiday season where you actually come out ahead!

Wishing you a happy holiday!