Review of Debt-Proof the Holidays: How to Have an All-Cash Christmas
Those of you looking forward to this year’s holiday shopping season with a little apprehension, anxiety, or dread can take heart in a new way of thinking. The always financially-savvy (but personable and warm) Mary Hunt of DebtProofLiving has followed through on her promise to simplify your seasonal spending and put meaning back into Christmas. Debt-Proof the Holidays: How to Have an All-Cash Christmas will instruct as well as inspire.
Starting off with a background of Christmas tradition, as it relates to consumer debt, Mary shocks us with the statistics. The average household spends $1,000 during the holiday season. November 2006 alone saw $8 billion in credit card debt! No wonder there is a need for a new attitude for consumers. “No matter what, I am not going to spend money I do not have to pay for Christmas.” With that new attitude, it is possible to tame the credit beast and return to a simpler, more joyous holiday season.
Mary shows us that by developing a plan and sticking to it (I love the idea of the cash envelope system), consumers can start early in the year to start budgeting for their holiday festivities. Those of us getting a late start can use one of several unique ideas for finding that last-minute cash (and it’s all perfectly legal.) Since it may not be possible for everyone to dig up the funds for the Christmas of their dreams, Mary gives several doable yet classy ideas for more frugal gifts. Bargain hunting, homemade treasures, family traditions, and charitable contributions are all covered in simple language and fresh perspective. (Readers of the DebtProofLiving newsletters also contribute a large portion of this book, which is the one of the reasons it seems to work for all types of consumers.)
Gift-wrapping, entertaining, and family time are all addressed with common sense and candor. While there may be nothing in this book completely new under the sun, it is inspirational nonetheless. If you don’t find the recipes for Dreamsicle cookies to be useful, maybe you’ll appreciate the witty commentary on holiday tipping. Mary’s book does more than give tips and tricks for avoiding holiday burn-out and financial destruction – it grants us all permission to shun the consumerism that has laid claim to our hearts and take back holiday joy for ourselves and our families.