Latest blog posts

Will That Be Cash or Credit Card?

/ / Sass Savvy & Success

The Season of Giving is upon us! Can you pay cash for all your purchases or does your credit card company fall in love with you all over again this time of year? If you are cash and carry, you’re excused from reading this post. The rest of you, maybe there’s a suggestion here that will help.

Tugging at your heartstrings…

Christmas may come at the same time each year, but the advertising and the tugging at your heartstrings seems to start earlier each year. Toys and gadgets and styles and Insta-pots seem to get more sophisticated all the time and, therefore, more expensive each year. (I threw Insta-pot in there because it consumed my Facebook feed for weeks, every woman seemed to need one – I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what it is!)

I have really strong opinions on Seasonal Giving but that’s not the focus of this article – maybe it’ll be a subject for next Fall.

I am going to presume you buy gifts at Christmas (excuse the political incorrectness of that term – it gets the point across for most people). If you have engorged credit card bills this month and next, then I will also presume you spend more than you have ready cash for.

Here’s a suggestion!

Here’s my suggestion, and it’s one that’s worked for me for years, even (especially?) when I was the single parent of three teenagers.

Let me digress now to your daily household bills. In Canada, we have electricity, sometimes water, telephone, oil or gas for heating perhaps, insurance, even garbage collection. Most of those bills can be averaged into a monthly fee and that is what you pay, no matter the usage. For example, even though you use little electricity during the summer, you pay the same as in the winter so credit can build on your account and you don’t have huge expenses from November through March.

For my solution, my example will be an electric bill for which you pay $100/month, or $1200/year (I love round numbers!). Why don’t you automatically pay $120/month starting in January? Keeping in mind the $1200/year number, this means you will have paid the yearly total by the end of October. Discontinue those automatic payments, and this frees up $240 in November and December for seasonal spending. While $240 may not seem like much, that’s only from one bill. My oil heat was a large monthly fee and overpaying each month freed up another $400 for me. What other bills do you have?

If you extend this model across all your household expenses, the amount of available cash you have in December keeps you from running up those credit cards and getting hit with serious remorse in January. Trust me, if you’re on a budget, January instantly seems sunnier!

It’s not a theory!

I’d love to know what you think of this idea. It’s not a theory, it worked for many years and even, as mentioned, when I had three teenagers to account for. If you need more incentive to give it a try, add up all the interest you pay on those credit cards between now and “Paid In Full”.

If you’re on a budget and still have no credit card debt in January, share your secrets in the comments too!!

Happy Season!

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Darla M. Sands
2 years ago

We’ve been blessed with the ability to meet our needs without running up debt. Our lives are not glamorous, but financial freedom is more important to us. Thanks for sharing this for those in the need. And Happy New Year!

Bethany @ Happily Loco

Credit cards don’t agree with me! I have tried having one twice, and ran into debt both times. Now we lucky to live rent-free (and mortgage-free), since we live on a boat and get our slip free because my husband works for the marina. For me, not having the credit card has been key to forcing us to live within our means!


2 years ago

This sounds like . a great idea Agnes! I have always had a Christmas account with money going in automatically every payday. The account rules are that it can’t be withdrawn until 1 November each year so there’s no way you can be tempted to spend it during the year. It’s amazing how much it can build up over the year! #mlstl

Leanne |

It sounds like a great idea for those who aren’t good at saving, or who are living close to the edge of their finances. We’ve never spent up big at Christmas – small gifts and not being too extravagent in our celebrations really helps keep things in balance. When finances were tighter I used to shop for the kids’ presents in the mid-year sales and tuck them away for Christmas to reduce costs.
MLSTL – I’ve shared this on my SM 🙂

sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

Now that is a clever idea Agnes! I personally think we all spend far too much at Christmas time and forget about the most important things such as spending time with family and friends. We now just have a Secret Santa for adults which means we are allocated one person to buy for with a budget amount. We still buy little things for the grandchildren but deposit money into a special savings account for their birthdays and Christmas and hopefully this will help them in the future. Thanks for sharing your budget idea with us at #MLSTL and have a… Read more »

Jennifer Jones
2 years ago

This is great advice Agnes. I set up automatic payments at the start of this year. It has definitely made life easier. Another bonus is that I don’t have to remember when payments are due. Spending can really get out of hand at Christmas with the pain revisiting in the new year when payments are due. I do give presents of course, but am trying to make Christmas about the Spirit of Christmas #MLSTL Shared on SM

2 years ago

I once racked up a huge credit card bill. I was working in my own restaurant and cafe however there was no $$ for us the owners. By the time we paid rent, food, staff wages…it was all gone. So just to live I had to use it. I am very pleased to say that it took around 4 years but I paid it in full. I will never go down that road again. If i don’t have the money then i go without.

Mary Lou
2 years ago

Sounds like an excellent strategy! Carrying over a large credit card debt month to month is scary! It just snowballs because of the interest payments. I’m now paying all credit cards off in full and never want to carry a balance again. Good post to share on Facebook and Twitter for #MLSTL.