It’s that time of year again where we get together for holidays, throw parties and often share gifts. It’s also the time of year where many people feel under the most stress, particularly due to financial strains that can come about from the extra activities. Setting a realistic budget and being able to stick to it is a great way to reduce holiday stress. Here are a few ideas to help you get through the holidays with your budget intact…
1. Set a cash budget and stick to it. There is nothing worse than having credit card debt still hanging over you months after the holiday has ended. Budget with the cash that you do have to avoid paying extra interest later!
2. Plan early! The holiday season comes at the same time every year – try to spread out the expense by buying gifts during sales over the year, or have savings set aside to help with gift and party expenses.
3. Make a list of who you want to buy a gift for. Include how much you want to spend on each person and stick to your budget! This will help you to avoid blow-outs once you get to the store.
4. Talk to other family members beforehand about expectations. Try something like Secret Santa among the adults so that each adult only needs to buy one other a gift. This means that everyone can have a gift but no one needs to blow the budget trying to buy something for everyone! You could even set a maximum limit on the value of the gift.
5. Try buying online. By the time you fuel up the car and drive from store to store, you could end up spending a lot of extra cash just getting to where you buy gifts. There are some great deals to be found online at this time of year so why not try it out?
6. Split up the party food. Whether you are hosting or someone else in your family is, why not have everyone bring a plate to contribute? You could pre-organize who brings meats, vegetables, salads, desserts etc, ensuring that the cost is not a burden on one person.
7. Try homemade gifts. You don’t need to break the bank trying to buy something from a store for everyone. Homemade gifts such as cookies, fudge, pickles, jams or crafts can be a nice touch to give to anyone and won’t cost you the earth.
8. Save your calendar (and some money!). Attending every possible event that you get invited to can make for a hectic and expensive time when you add up all the dishes you make, gifts you buy or meals/drinks out that you need to purchase. You don’t need to say yes to every invitation and will probably find that you feel better if you are not frantically rushing from event to event all season!
How do you beat financial stress during the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!