Giveaway: Debt-Proof the Holidays


If ever there was a time for Americans to start pinching pennies, this would be it. I am so thankful that the Lord gave us a wake-up call about 18 months ago. We aren’t completely out of Debtors Forest, but we can see the light through the trees.

Though we have done much to cut expenses and adopt frugal ways, there is always room for improvement. And as Christmas approaches? Oh my! Have you been to Target lately? I had a severe case of the gimmes the other day. You gotta be on your guard against overspending. And I don’t know about you, but I need all the help I can get!

That is why I was so pleased to receive a copy of Mary Hunt’s Debt-Proof the Holidays. This book is a great resource for charting a course for your celebrations as well as for your holiday spending. Mary Hunt speaks from experience as a former shop-aholic who had racked up debt with a lot of zeros on the end. She paid every penny back, but not before she learned a lot about money and budget living. This book, geared toward all holidays, not just Christmas, is a great resource to get you ready to fight off the gimmes this holiday season.

And the people at Debt-Proof Living have graciously donated a copy to one LifeasMOM reader! Yeah!

For a chance to win, please leave a comment with your name and one way that you will endeavor to be frugal this year. Contest will be open until Saturday night at 8 pm PST.

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  1. Mrs. Querido says:

    Only ONE way that I am going to be frugal this year? 🙂

    I am going to be cooking more things from scratch. Making a meal plan and sticking to it. Keeping my budget of $200/ month for groceries even if we can afford to splurge. Couponing!

    Okay, I think that is way more than one..but I couldn’t pick a favorite frugal habit 🙂

  2. Jinxy and Me says:

    I am already quite frugal, but one thing that we MUST do this winter is to better winterize our home to reduce our fuel costs. Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. AHighandNobleCalling says:

    We only do 1 gift per child, something that they really want.

    We also do a yankee swap for each side of the family. This eliminates a lot of gift buying.

    Any meals that we do, we always do a potluck

    These three things have saved us a tremendous amount of money!

  4. I would love to win this book!!

    We are in the middle of our “total money makeover,” with Dave Ramsey, so frugal is our middle name right now. I am tutoring a few hours a week after my husband gets home from work, and we are budgeting like crazy. This will not change with the Christmas season. We are buying a few gifts for my daughter, but we will not purchase any for each other. And we have all agreed to cut down on gifts with the extended family.

  5. We have decided to cut back on Christmas and only do a few well chosen, thoughtful gifts for the kids.

    In addition to that, just using coupons and making alot of things from scratch, I have been dong that for a few years now and it works.

  6. kdawnchristian says:

    We realized last year that we end up exchanging gift cards with most of our extended family so this year we are planning to have a nice dinner together and not give gifts except for the children.

    Thanks for the giveaway!!

  7. I am trying to stick to our budget. We have managed to pay off all non-mortgage debt, so we have a little bit of breathing room, but I dont want to waste it! I love Mary Hunt’s books.

  8. We bought one combined gift for the kids. I have been picking up markdown or things at garage sales for my nieces and nephews. I make sure that they are in perfect shape and often brand new. Like the huge box of playdough I found. We draw names, but we hav ethe most kids so we have to buy the most.

    Also we do a potluck dinner.

    We have already started working on homemade gifts. Also we used the points from our checking card to buy some presents off of amazon for hard to buy for people. the points are free so the gits cost us nothing!

  9. waldenbunch says:

    My husband is looking at finishing his degree online which will eventually allow him to switch jobs and make more money.

  10. I asked my mom for Dave Ramsey’s book for Christmas. I can’t wait to start on the debt-free path!
    I started buying Christmas presents in May for all the kids. We are making a lot of gifts this year. I love getting homemade gifts, they mean more to me then lotion or a gift card.

  11. I have always “liked” the idea of money-saving. But never really “learned” how to do it until April of this year. So, this will be my first holiday season to work frugally! This book looks awesome. Thanks for the chance!

  12. Hmmmm… just one way? I suppose the thing that keeps saving us a decent amount each month is the apartment we’re living in. When we moved her for school we began our apartment search with the cheapest we could find, the first few were simply impossible…due to safety and other issues. As we worked our way up, we found the little duplex we’re in now and just love it! –and it’s a great price!

  13. The Things We Do says:

    Oh goodness,I can’t think of just one! We are doing Dave Ramsey as well so I’m making all kinds of changes. A big one for Christmas this year was to buy just one gift each for our kids and to be frugal with family gifts….making some homemade ones as well. I’d love to read that book for more tips!

  14. Innocent Observer says:

    Please enter me to win.

    We have been giving only homemade gifts for years. We made jams and jellies this summer, and will do some baking and more knitting before the big day.

    One thing we are doing differently this year is to ask friends and family NOT to buy us anything so that they can all be more conservative as well.


  15. With my birthday, my husband’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday, our anniversary and Christmas all within a month we definitely have to keep things frugal this time of year. So we create a budget, put away money all year in a Christmas fund, look for deals on good gifts all year, and I make a lot of gifts.

  16. Garden Gal says:

    We have a "Christmas" account in our budget that we put $25 a month into, so that's my limit for everyone & everything & I'm hoping to do even less than what is in there, just as an extra challenge :>

    Hubbs & I spend no more than $25 on each other each year.

    I plan on purchasing 1 gift for my son that is less than $75, though I'm not sure what he'll be getting yet, so it could be much less than that.

    I have done better this year at purchasing small gifts throughout the year that were on major sale / clearance for a few close friends.

    OK, that's more than one, but I appreciate seeing what others do during this time of year with much larger families than ours!! Thx for the giveaway. :>

  17. We do three gifts per child (symbolic of wise men to baby Jesus), but to keep it from getting out of control we also set an overall $$ limit per child. So one gift might take up most of the $, the other two are smaller gifts. This helps us set parameters and keep from getting the “gimmies”. We also, have withdrawn from all family gift sharing. We bake for family and spend time with family but we don’t need more stuff! Our family tends to buy LARGE (read: expensive) gifts. We couldn’t keep up if we tried! So we opt out. Everyone understands, given our season in life (one income, three small kids, trying to get out of debt etc.)

  18. In midst of wedding planning and grad school, Fiance and I compiled a list of who we need to "buy" for this season, and where we are "cutting back."

    Our "buying" consists of foodstuffs –we're doing homemade gifts this year (I'm doing assorted baked goods & whole meals, and he's drying his chile peppers and making dried chile flakes and chile oil). All stuff is procured with combining coupons/double coupons and sales. Whoohoo!

    And our "cutting back" list means they get a Christmas card from the mountainous stash of fancy-schmancy cards I picked up for 13 cents a box after all my discounts last year. 🙂

  19. My husband and I are doing better staying within budget each year that goes by. One thing we do is to buy things as we see them (so the store doesn’t sell out) then go over our purchases weekly to “think twice” about what we have. Anything that we decide really doesn’t fit into our overall Christmas thoughts or budget go back. Be careful to keep close track of receipts!

  20. phoward336 says:

    We are making a list of who we want to give gifts to along with the gifts we plan on giving. This should eliminate spending too much and buying too many gifts!

  21. We can’t afford to buy gifts for family AND friends. So for friends, I always bake a variety of breads for Christmas. It’s inexpensive, yet highly anticipated by the recipients! I’m doing some homemade stuff for my nieces, as well, along with books I bought on sale.

  22. We are definitely doing better, and have never gone into debt for CHristmas, but I would sure like some tips on doing it even better!

    This year we are really focusing on what is needed with some fun thrown in.

  23. The Alchemist says:

    Oh – what a great offer. We’re already telling our kids that we’re having a simpler Christmas. Last year we moved into our brand-new house 3 days before Christmas (a blessing and a miracle) but with the finances being globally cut back, ours our too. It would be great to get more suggestions to help us through this year. Thank you very much.

  24. This year we are drawing names for Christmas presents between the brothers and sisters on my husband’s side of the family. We should probably do the same with my side of the family next year.

  25. Ou clan has decided on a new family policy that all of our extended realtives will only exchange gifts when we are spending Christmas face-to-face. It is a start on simplifying shopping, shipping and spending!

  26. I plan on hanging my laundry on drying racks over the heater vents and only use my dryer to “fluff” the clothes.

  27. I have started planning the menus for our meals and cooking more ‘home-cooked-meals’ . . . and clipping coupons and then ACTUALLY taking them with me, list in hand, to the store when shopping.

  28. One way I am going to be more frugal this year is cooking more from scratch, making my own bread, etc. Thanks for the great giveaway, I just love your blog.

  29. Looks like a great book. Two ideas for our frugal Christmas:

    – Make personalized place mats as (use scrapbook paper, printer, and laminate)

    – Make personalized notepads.

  30. Briana Almengor says:

    Yay, another fishmama contest!
    My attempt at being frugal this Christmas was to be the first to suggest a “new way” of celebrating with my 6 siblings and their spouses/children. We have done a gift exchange in the past where we draw names to try to save money. But, I thought we could go even further and agree to plan an extended family activity together in place of gifts altogether this year. I didn’t know how this would be received b/c I have some sibs who LOVE to give and receive gifts. But, it’s gone over really well so far.
    I through out a couple suggestions on what the activity could be including a family game night, a family talent show or even getting Christmas dinner catered (still would cost some money, but probably less than if we all bought gifts for each other). We’ll see what we end up deciding, but overall I’m happy it was well received.

  31. Re-use plastic grocery bags instead of buying them. Use towels and wash them instead of rolled towels. Make coffee at home instead of running to the local starbucks.

  32. This year we are making food gifts to give to the extended family. In past years the adults always bought all the other adults some sort of gift, and truthfully I think the mark was missed many times! Each family always gave some sort of food gift as well. This year we are just doing the food gift, and it has been fun thinking of what to make and how to package it (can you say “thift shop baskets”? LOL!)


  33. I think I’m going to try harder to make presents for every holiday – not just Christmas! It will be more heartfelt, and I think I’ll enjoy it more. =)

  34. We could use this book! We’re trying to debt-proof our lives, and the holidays are a good starting place. This year, we’re going to all cash – no credit cards. We’re allotting a certain amount to spend for everyone, and trying to shop sales and use coupons and rebates, and once we’re out of the cash we’ve allotted, we’re done. This should really help with the post-holiday letdown.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  35. Thrifty and Chic Mom says:

    All gifts are $10 or under. We have some extra money coming in and that will cover everyone in our extended family. This way we are not spending any extra money out of our usual monthly budget for Christmas. I get great deals and the gifts never retail for close to $10 either!

  36. Donna(mom24boyz) says:

    This is the first year we are limiting the # of presents each of our children will get from us. They will get a total of 3 modest presents and their stocking’s stuffed. I think this will really help us curtail going into overdrive.
    But I am always open for more ideas!

  37. We are planning to get one gift for the whole family this year. It will be a lot less expensive then individual gifts for 7 people.

  38. babydurland says:

    We’ve actually made a budget and discussed it at length. We are also reusing gift bags, boxes and tissue paper from last year.

  39. One thing that I’m doing is “recycling” material from clothing bought at Goodwill (and washed thoroughly) to make cute little aprons with lots of pockets for all our little nieces. We will probably fill the pockets with crayons and other little trinkets from the dollar store. We still have to figure out what to do for the nephews…but we will be frugal with their gifts as well!!

  40. I am using gifts that I’ve collected over the year during drastic clearances. Most things were bought 75-90% off retail. We also draw names for extended family. That cuts down on the number of gifts to buy and especially the number to mail!

  41. I am oging to be using all recycled Holiday gift bags. I saved them all from last Christmas so that I would not have to buy a bunch this year!


  42. We have the kids make hand made holiday cards every year. We also make a lot of hand made gifts to give to teachers and friends.

    When we are with family, we all do a white elephant gift exchange and draw names to give gifts to the kids.

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