Rachel Cruze remembers what life was like when her influential father, Dave Ramsey, was going through financial hardship and walking through bankruptcy. Those memories fuel her passion for making sure people know the financial dos and don’ts of the Christmas season.
While she works with her father and siblings at Ramsey Solutions, Cruze is known by many for her YouTube show, where she gives advice on a wide range of financial topics, including how to spend wisely for Christmas. She's keenly aware of the dangers that lie ahead for those who don't follow financial wisdom.
Consumer spending, Cruze said, is expected to be extremely high during the holidays this year compared to 2020, when fewer families gathered together to exchange gifts.
“So while it's the giving season, which is beautiful, it can get tangled up with this idea that we play into other people's expectations of what Christmas is, and so much so that we put ourselves in a financial hole and go into debt for it,” she lamented.
Those who follow Ramsey Solutions know they discourage racking up debt, especially at Christmastime. This is why Cruze encourages people to budget for what they plan to spend on each person and include other expenses associated with the holiday meal and gatherings, including the cost of paper plates and plastic utensils.
Cruze believes parents and adults should communicate with each other and their children about what their expectations should be due to budgeting constraints caused by the loss of income or because parents are working to reduce spending so they can pay off debt or save money for a rainy day fund.
Many parents crack under the pressure of their family's expectations and sometimes resort to taking out a payday loan, which Cruze strongly advises against falling prey to.
“It’s a bad idea," she stressed. "So remember, not only are you going into debt for something that no one is going to remember in four months. But also, you look at the math on the interest rates, fees and everything attached to that type of industry. It's disgusting. It’s terrible what they charge people when it comes to payday loans or even online loans. I just heard a story this morning about a 110 percent interest loan that a guy took out, and they just feed on people's desperation.”
Christmas shouldn’t bring desperation but freedom, she declared.
“The one word we use around here frequently is freedom. A level of freedom comes with avoiding debt, and being in debt mathematically takes a financial toll. But also, there's a spiritual, emotional toll that it takes when you owe someone. And the moment you become free, you know, in Proverbs, it says the borrower is a slave to the lender," she emphasized.
Cruze, whose life work is to help others break free from the bondage of debt, also wants people to find true freedom and everlasting peace in the salvation that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ.