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Debt. How much debt is right for you?

Updated on September 14, 2013

From a tiny seed, the mustard seed, this tree has grown. How big shall your gifts be?

The smallest of gifts can start the greatest of traditions.
The smallest of gifts can start the greatest of traditions.

The test is really not so hard as you would think.

Did you know that there are people with enough money that they spend a great deal at Christmas without going in debt? I know, I know but it is true. There are other people who ask others to give what they would in a gift to a charity and then do the same without debt. There are some energetic folks that home make all sorts of things without spending much money, and do not go into debt. There are some spiritual folks that spend all their time and energy just giving love and prayers and happiness for the season. I assume that is not you or you would not be reading this article.

Don't owe your soul to the company store

If debt is a freedom for you, go for it.

What I mean is; that if going into debt allows you to do what you really want to do and are happy to sacrifice for it, just do it! If there is something in your heart that just must be done, but you haven’t the money go into debt to get it done. I just read a hub on what dying people regret and guess what, nobody ever said “I regret giving too much at Christmas”. What we need to do in order how much debt is too much requires two steps. The first is pencil and paper finances and the second is, why are we doing it?

How much is too much - well if your losing sleep over it -----

Does your debt worry you

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These small blocks were hand me down presents to me. Now they are my son's favorite toy.

I suppose I could say that these old blocks are the best gift I ever received.
I suppose I could say that these old blocks are the best gift I ever received. | Source

An easy formula to follow

Financing made simple.

You must take the total of your prospective monthly minimum payments and multiply it times two. If over the next 6 months you can do that amount and pay off your debt you are good to go. If you cannot do that do not spend the money you do not have. Do something else. The rule is harsh but there is a good reason. If in the next six months something bad happens you won’t go bankrupt over this debt. That is a bare minimum cushion.

Last year my son gave me this drawing of my youngest son. Maybe that is the best gift.

I told Brooks not to finish it as neither of my sons are finished yet.
I told Brooks not to finish it as neither of my sons are finished yet. | Source

Motivation for buying presents tells us much.

Really stop for a second and ask why you are buying a particular present. Of course the less money we are spending the less we worry about the why. If we buy to impress, we should buy less. No good thing ever came of a gift that was given to create the notion that we have more than we do. Only bad is returned on that thought. Like it is still not good enough, the other person knows that is why you did it, and the worst – you resent that person for “making” you do it.

If you get it because the other person “really, really, really” just has to have it. That is either a present that does not come from your heart or it is a necessity and necessities should never be presents. And generally “just have to haves” are fads and it destroys the notion of a Christmas gift.

Here is the worst, I am sure you saw it coming. Buying an expensive gift for someone because they always get you one. That is the most common loser mistake we make. I did it for years. I call it the guilt gift. What I would do is spend tons of money getting my children and wife “home” for Christmas. I am very glad I did that when Grandma’s and Grandpa’s were in abundance. That should have been my gift to my family of origin, believe me it got expensive. But I also felt a need to buy presents all the way around like they did. Well that was dumb. Don’t you be dumb like me. Draw some lines. If some part of Christmas is just too much financial burden, cut it out. Hold you head up high and give longer greetings and really listen to stories and hug a little warmer and be interested in others lives. Do not worry about what you do not have, concentrate on the marvelous gift of you.

This really is not about Christmas spending now is it.

People who over spend really do not need a reason. They just do it like a drunk just drinks. Or a preacher just preaches. We just can't help ourselves. I had a buddy who was a substance addiction counselor and he was danged good. Normally those guys would be long time sober recovering people who went and got a degree and so they are suited for it. Buddy never drank smoked or took a drug in his life. He was a recovery shopaholic. But he could relate perfectly to all the other addictions.

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    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Chitrangada,

      It is my hope that by solid comments like yours and sharing that belief, just maybe we can free somebody from feeling like they must go into debt. If we say it enough perhaps it will help. I agree small thoughtful gifts are the best. Thanks for visiting and lending your words.

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Val. Gifts are cool. Debt is bad. Combining the two is sad. I think you are right. But we still have to help those with the problem. You know what! It was a nice gift for you to drop by and write your note - makes my day.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      You have advised so well in the form of a hub. One should always avoid being in financial 'debt'. There are numerous ways to make your dear ones happy, by giving self made gifts to gifting flowers and sweets or simply spending quality time together.

      Nice hub.

    • Val Swabb profile image

      Val Swabb 4 years ago from South Carolina

      If you have to go into debt, DON'T. I've never understood why people think they have to give a bunch of stuff. For Christians, the present giving is a way to remember Jesus, I don't think putting yourself into debt is honoring Him very much. For non-christians, I still don't get it. If this was stuff you actually needed, I'd imagine it didn't need to wait for Christmas. Also, there is craigslist, yardsales, homemade gifts, or simply a letter, saying , I love you!

      Your guideline isn't strict enough in my opinion, but there is some good info in here!

    • Ericdierker profile image
      Author

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you MsDora for dropping by with greetings this wonderful season. You make the case, just a little you is a great big gift. Thanks

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 years ago from The Caribbean

      "The gift of you." Unbeatable. Giving should not hurt; we can find ways to share the little that we have without digging a hole for ourselves. We need to give love, affirmation, blessings and the like. Thanks for your insight.