How to use the Holiday Season to get OUT of Debt

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What is it about the holiday season that makes money magically fly out of your wallet? It is so hard to stay on track if you are working to get out of debt and get your finances in order.

Notice I said hard, not impossible.

Although it takes discipline and intentionality, not only can you stay on track this holiday season, but you can actually use this time of year to accelerate your debt snowball. (If you aren’t sure what that means, you can read about debt snowballs here.) Are you ready to get that snowball rolling? Let’s dive in!

Tip 1: Sell things

People are in the mood to buy. Join in the fun and give them items to purchase! I am sure you have things laying around your home that you don’t really need (I know I do!). Get rid of them!! Here are my favorite places to sell used items:

Books: Amazon We all love to buy things on Amazon but did you know you can sell items on the platform as well?

Here’s how:

  1. Click on my account
  2. Scroll down to this box that says “other accounts”
  3. Click “seller”
  4. Follow the steps to sign up as an individual and you can sell up to 40 items per month for free!

Clothing: ThredUp

Although you may be able to make more money selling clothing in a traditional garage sale, ThredUp is the easiest way to sell clothing online. They send you a bag, you fill it with unwanted clothing, mail it back to them and they take care of the rest. You can read about their full process here. If you sign up with this link, they will also give you a $10 credit toward your first shopping trip!

Other items: Let Go, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace

You can find great tips for selling just about anything online here.

Tip 2: Ask for useful gifts

Be intentional with your Christmas list. Ask for things that will help motivate you to reach your goal, save you money, or help you better manage your time. Here are some ideas:


The easiest way to use the holidays to get that debt snowball rolling is to ask for cash instead of gifts and then throw all of the money at your debt. I know that is a little depressing to think about but reaching your goals requires a bit of sacrifice. Besides, it’s just for this year, by next year you will be debt free. (If you’re willing to work your little tushie off to make it happen! :))

Things you actually NEED

Instead of focusing on fun things that you want, ask for things you need. This will save you money in the long run because you won’t have to buy the items yourself. Are your work clothes worn out? Ask for an update. Are your kids growing out of their winter clothes? Add that to the list. Can you see your husband’s toes through his socks? Santa can bring that too.

Financial Peace University

This course truly changed our lives and helped us understand personal finance and how to begin our journey toward debt freedom. It is a necessity for anyone who wants to change their financial future.

Motivating Books

Reading is an awesome way to keep you motivated and constantly encountering new ideas and points of view. Here are some great books I’ve read recently:

Love Your Life, Not Theirs by Rachel Cruze
– This book covers Dave Ramsey’s money principles but also talks about how jealousy and comparison can easily steal our joy and keep us from success and happiness.

In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson– This book is about running after your dreams and conquering the very things that scare you. I found it as I was working on 30 Days of Change and found it incredibly motivating and inspiring.

EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey– I am in the middle of this one at the moment. In this book, Dave Ramsey talks about how he started and grew his now multi-million dollar business by creating entrepreneurial leaders. It is a great book for anyone growing a business or leading a team.

Audible Subscription– You may be wondering how I have time to read all of these books (I don’t). I recently discovered Audible (which you can try for free here) and I am in love. With Audible I get to “read” (listen to audiobooks) while I commute to work, clean my house, or cook dinner.

Erin Condren Life Planner or Journal

If getting out of debt and following your dreams were easy, everyone would do it. It’s not. Sometimes it’s downright hard. However, planning and organization definitely help! Neither of those are my strong points so I use to-do lists and journals to help keep me sane. I love, love, love these. They are beautiful, customizable and have everything you could ever need in one place! You can learn more (or just witness their sheer beauty) here.

$5 Meal Plan

This is a gift that just keeps on giving. For just $5 a month, you get a week’s worth of inexpensive meals sent straight to your inbox. This will save you hours of planning and help you eat in instead of wasting money on a quick meal out because you weren’t sure what to cook.

Essential Oils Starter Kit

Thanks to this kit, I have been able to replace almost every cleaning product and personal care product in our home with a DIY version. This is saving us thousands and keeping us healthier by removing toxic chemicals from our home that were irritating my son’s asthma. You can read more about the Premium Starter Kit and why I only recommend these oils here.

Tip 3: Be smart with your gift giving

We’ve covered how to help you make some money and be intentional with the gifts you receive to save you money in the long run. Now let’s look at the side of the holidays that often causes us the most stress- purchasing gifts for everyone. Thankfully, there are a few options for surviving the gift-giving season without destroying your budget.

Option 1: Have a Gift Free Christmas

First off, let me just point out that the holidays aren’t actually about gift giving. Yes, our culture has made it that way but you don’t have to give gifts in order to celebrate (and no, that does not make you Scrooge).

Last year, we decided not to give any gifts. We also asked not to receive any gifts. It wasn’t fun but no one disowned us. No one got upset. We explained our situation and everyone was very supportive of how hard we were working to achieve our goal.

Instead of giving gifts, you could volunteer together at a soup kitchen, put together a box of gifts for a child in need with Samaritan’s Purse or adopt a family through your local Salvation Army. All of these options convey the true spirit of Christmas just as much, if not more, than giving gifts.

Option 2: DIY Christmas

This year we decided to budget in a little bit for Christmas. So, I will be making gifts for my family and friends using my beloved essential oils and DIY obsession. Here are some of my favorite DIY gift ideas:

Spa Kit

Diffuser Jewelry

Bath Salts or Bath Bombs

Option 3: Shop Smart

If you do decide to give gifts and DIY is not your thing, you can still be smart while doing your shopping. Here’s how:

Write a gift budget.

This post by Frugal Fanatic has a great tutorial on how to budget for your gifts.

Make your list and check it twice.

Have ideas in mind of what you want to buy for each person. This will help you stay focused while you are shopping.

Look for coupons and deals.

Start your shopping early and check prices to make sure you are getting the best deals.

If you are shopping in the store, check Ibotta to see if there are any coupons you can use.

Ibotta is a rebate app you can download on your phone. If you find a rebate that applies to your purchase, all you have to do is scan the receipt, and sometimes the barcode, and voila! they add cash back to your account. You can sign up here and get a $10 bonus instantly!

If you are shopping online, use Ebates to get cash back.

Basically, all you have to do is sign up for a free account (which you can do here and get another $10 bonus) and then make an online purchase from your favorite stores through their site to get cash back. (You can read a full Ebates review here.)

I know that is a lot of information, kudos to you for making it to the end. The most important thing to remember is that this is a season, it will pass. Don’t let a temporary situation keep you from reaching your goal. You can do this, your dreams are worth it!

Want more ideas to help you save money, pay off debt, and achieve your dreams? Add your email below and ideas will come straight to your inbox each week. Plus, I’ll send you a free gift!

Author: Vanessa

I am a free spirit who learned to use creativity as a key to success in chasing after debt freedom. I am a mom, lover of all things DIY, a little bit of a treehugger and modern-day hippy and an encourager to the core. If you need a little inspiration for your debt free journey, you’ve come to the right place.


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