Dealing With Financial Anxiety Around the Holidays

Between Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, the holiday season can bring with it an abundance of opportunities for shopping and gift buying. This time of the year can be exciting and joyful, but it can also be stressful. If you are facing financial difficulty, the added pressure of holiday shopping can create anxiety and increase the strain on already burdened financial resources. While you may not be able to eliminate all of your holiday stress, you can make some smart money choices to alleviate financial stress. Here are six ways to get through the holidays without breaking the bank.

 

  1. Create a Budget

Review your income and your expenses and see how much wiggle room you have to fit in holiday spending. Figure out what you are willing to spend on gifts, food, and decorations and then decide if this matches your budget. It can be helpful to allot a specific amount of money for each item on your list. Determine how much you can afford to spend on each person and on your other holiday items. This can help you avoid overspending and keep you on track to meet your daily financial obligations.

 

  1. Don’t Buy It If You Can’t Afford It

We’ve all been there: you have the perfect gift in mind for your loved one, but the price tag gives you pause. Every year, parents dip into emergency savings or retirement plans, maxing credit cards and cutting corners in order to give their children a fantastic holiday. A good rule of thumb is that if you can’t afford to purchase a gift without borrowing money from another account or taking out a loan, it’s best not to make the purchase. After all, going into debt is going to be more detrimental to your loved ones than skipping a few presents under the tree.

 

  1. Plan Your Shopping

Whether you are at the grocery store or the mall, it is a good to have a clear idea of what you intend to buy before you get there. Create a list of what you want to buy and who you are buying it for. This will prevent you from making unnecessary purchases or spending beyond your allotted budget. Impulse purchases can add up over time to completely ruin the budget you have established for yourself. If you know what you need and how much you are willing to spend on it, you can’t fall prey to holiday consumer tricks.

 

  1. Be Creative With Your Gifts

Your gifts can still be thoughtful without an exorbitant price tag. If your crafty, put your creative skills to good use and make some handmade presents customized for your loved ones. DIY gifts can be very meaningful for your loved ones without breaking your budget. If arts and crafts aren’t your thing, you can give the gift of your time. Cooking a meal, cleaning a house, a night of babysitting, a movie night on the couch—these thoughtful gifts can mean everything to your loved ones and likely won’t cost you a thing.

 

  1. Talk To Your Loved Ones

Discuss what the meaning of the season is for your loved ones. You may not have the financial resources of others close to you. While it might be a bit uncomfortable, take the time to set reasonable and realistic boundaries with family where your finances are concerned. Gift spending limits and spreading holiday cooking responsibilities evenly amongst family members can save you a lot of headache and disappointment later on. Your family should know what to expect from you this holiday season and you should not feel ashamed to set reasonable financial boundaries with your loved ones.

 

  1. Start Saving For Next Year Now

Yes, really. The earlier you can start preparing for the holiday season, the better! Once you get through this year’s shopping list, start looking towards next year. If you start saving in January, you’ll have a better chance of getting through the holidays without stressing out so much about how holiday spending will impact your bottom line. Create a holiday savings plan and start putting a little bit of money away every week. By this time next year, you will have a substantial budget to work with.

 

It’s very easy to be swept away by the magic of the season and forget the reality of your bank account. But keep in mind that the holiday season isn’t supposed to be about new gadgets and shiny packages. The holiday season is a time to focus on quality time with loved ones and reflect on the previous year. With some diligent planning and financial creativity, you can get through the holidays without going into debt and still enjoy the spirit of the season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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