Stake Your Debt Free Claim by Having “The Talk” This Christmas

by Joe Plemon on October 3, 2011

This year will be different for Fred and Angela

Fred and Angela have always loved Christmas, especially shopping for their kids and grandkids … unbridled shopping, as in thousands of dollars shopping. The problem is that Fred and Angela do not have thousands of dollars to spend on Christmas. To the contrary, they have tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt, car debt and miscellaneous debt. But Christmas 2011 is going to be different for this couple. Instead of piling up more debt, they have drawn the line in the sand and are focused on paying down their debt.

Christmas is a huge obstacle for many couples who, in spite of their intentions for getting out of debt, simply don’t have the resolve to stop the overspending at Christmas time. This annual buying binge is more sinister than a simple one time blunder … like alcoholics who have gone off the wagon, they feel so defeated that they lose hope in ever conquering their debt demons. Fred and Angela used to be that way, but this year they are “having the talk” with their family. I will come back to the talk in a moment, but first some prerequisites for that talk:

They have a goal.

For Fred and Angela, the goal was simple: get rid of this debt. They both realized that unless they took action, the debt would stick with them the rest of their lives.

They have a plan.

These two have created a cash flow plan whereby they can realistically get rid of all of this debt in three years. Yes, it will take sacrifice, but they are excited about seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

They are in agreement.

Fred and Angela totally concur on their goal and their plan. Both realize that it will take tremendous teamwork, but they are discovering that joining forces against this common enemy is strengthening their marriage bond.

Having the talk.

Our couple plans to explain to their family that getting out of debt is a higher priority than an extravagant Christmas. The good news is that this will be a win-win talk. Why? Because Fred and Angela are not only staking their debt free claim, but also because their family, who is fully aware of how important Christmas is to these two, might just be motivated to better manage their own money.

Readers:  Have you, or anyone in your family, ever initiated “the talk”?   Do you or anyone in your family need to?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

20's Finances October 3, 2011 at 9:59 am

Christmas is one of the biggest ways that people fall behind. Planning ahead now can save people lots of money. I agree that taking an action to avoid this and talking about it is the best way. Great post.

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joeplemon October 3, 2011 at 5:25 pm

20’s,
Thanks. Fred and Angela in the story are fictional names, but this is a true story, and a very uplifting one. Unfortunately, I all too often run across people who just can’t break themselves of their Christmas binge spending. And, as I said in the post, the overspending at Christmas will often get them so far off track that they give up. They need to have “the talk”.

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Alex Humphrey October 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm

A great article and desperately needed! In about month, I’ll be talking A LOT about Christmas spending.

It’s the one time of the year normally sane people blow all their money!

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Julie Gaudet October 18, 2011 at 2:52 pm

I love this post mostly because it talks about two people taking a stand and following through. Christmas is fast approaching and we are already in the works to modify this year’s giving program. My family is growing as each of my brothers and sister are now married and having children. A family of 6 has literally doubled in less than a year and we are still mounting with another little one on the way. The funny thing about all of this is that my most favorite Christmas as a child is the one that my parents said was the one with the least amount of gifts given. That year it was all about games and having fun times as a family. The presents were secondary to everything… the way it should be in my mind!

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joeplemon October 19, 2011 at 1:02 pm

@Julie,
Sounds like your family is taking the same stand that Fred and Angela took. If you can have a fun Christmas celebration where gifts are secondary to everything, you are doing well. My hunch is that, just as your more memorable Christmases were the ones with fewest gifts, your younger generation family members will someday have those same memories. Congratulations for keeping Christmas in perspective.

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