Merry Debt Free Christmas by Joyce Marrero Zahariadis: A Book Review

By Melissa Batai

Does the thought of Christmas make you anxious? Do you look at the calendar and realize Christmas is only a few months away and you have little to no money saved for gifts and the extra expenses that come with the month of December? If so, you’re not alone.

Joyce Marrero Zahariadis, the blogger behind My Stay at Home Adventures, experienced several Christmas’ where she either went into debt or avoided paying other bills in December to buy Christmas presents. She’s since changed her ways and wants to help you change yours, too. Her ebook, Merry Debt Free Christmas: Holiday Solutions for the Financially Stressed offers a solution to this common problem.

The ebook contains the following:

Chapter 1: Why a Debt Free Christmas?
Chapter 2: Getting Mentally Ready for Christmas
Chapter 3: Setting Financial Goals for Christmas
Chapter 4: Creating the Perfect Christmas Budget
Chapter 5: How to Make Money for Christmas
Chapter 6: How to Save More Money for Christmas

Mental Preparation

The first two chapters in this book focus on getting mentally ready to have a debt free Christmas. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of pressure from advertisers, friends, family, and our kids to spend a lot of money to have the “perfect” Christmas. Yet, a “perfect” Christmas is a myth, and buying into that myth will leave you in debt come January.

Zahariadis emphasizes that we don’t “deserve” to spend our money and go over our budget in December because we worked hard all year. Instead, we deserve financial security.

Goals and Budget

After she has mentally prepared the reader for a debt free Christmas, Zahariadis then works on the nuts and bolts of the system—making Christmas goals and a budget. Too many of us enter the holidays unprepared, without a budget for how much we want to spend. After finishing this workbook, you should have a concrete plan for how much you’d like to spend as well as where your money is currently going.

Ways to Make Money

Zahariadis is a busy mom of four, so she doesn’t suggest that you get another job to pay for your Christmas. Instead, she suggests things you can do now, like tighten up your spending to find more money in your budget or do things from home like blog, use Swagbucks, or complete surveys to make extra money. The next chapter on earning money goes even further into ways you can round up extra cash for the holidays.

More Details about Merry Debt-Free Christmas

Each chapter is fairly short (the ebook itself is less than 60 pages long), and at the end of each chapter, there is a section for you to answer three to five pertinent questions about the material covered in the chapter such as, “How does your mindset affect your personal finances?” and “What are your budget struggles?”

Although I did not review it, there is also a 52-page workbook that goes with this ebook. The workbook includes pages for notes, forms to help you create a budget, and an income tracker, plus more.

If you’ve struggled with overspending during previous Christmases and you want this year to be different, this just may be the ebook for you.