The holidays are coming up! As much as these celebrations bring us joy and harmony, they can also bring us stress. This is particularly true when it comes to your finances! However, don’t lose hope that this will be another draining year on your pocketbook. In fact, with a little planning, there are a few ways you can make sure your holidays are stress and credit-free.
- Manage Your Expectations: Did you find the holidays refreshing last year, or were they somewhat draining and you’re still trying to figure out how to pay off your credit card bills? If you are someone that wants your holidays to be energizing and provide that feeling of togetherness, there is more to it than just spending money. Once you decide your expectations, it becomes easier to work towards things that create that result.
- Determine Your Holiday Goals: Are you looking to plan an extravagant black-tie party or have a more low-key celebration? Maybe you just want to hang out with lots of family and friends and enjoy some good food? Or maybe you usually get away and are finding yourself homebound this year. No matter how you normally spend your holidays, sharing your thoughts with family will help determine your goals and come to a decision that works for everyone!
- Create a Budget: Once you have decided your expectations and goals for the holiday, it is time to create your budget. A little planning can go a long way to creating a credit-free holiday, and will help you spread out the costs. The first step is to create a list of everything you need, from individual gifts to decorations to baking ingredients and meal items to clothing!
- Start Now: Early planning can make all the difference when it comes to the holidays. Instead of lumping your entire budget into a couple paychecks, try keeping an eye out for gift ideas and cute decor all year long. While it may be too late this year, it could be a good strategy to try for 2021! Starting early will help reduce stress and give you more opportunities to scoop up incredible deals throughout the year, which means you can spread your budget even farther!
- Accept Help: While I know many of us try to do everything during the holidays so our families can just enjoy themselves, it is important to remember that the holidays are a time when we are supposed to support each other, and celebrate together! If you are hosting a dinner this year, don’t be afraid to ask your family to bring appetizers or drinks. If you are buying gifts for friends, set a limit or challenge everyone to make something by hand! Homemade gifts can often feel more special and it creates a fun exchange for you and your friends. There are many incredible ways to reduce stress and help get others involved so that the holiday is perfect for everyone
It is easy to get caught up in the consumerism and expectations of the holidays. Is dinner perfect? Did you buy enough gifts? Did you invite everyone? Is everyone happy? But don’t forget yourself in your efforts to please others.
Even though the holidays can feel hectic, it is important to celebrate YOU and be grateful for what you have – even if you weren’t able to check off all the boxes. Life happens, but the most important thing is that we celebrate when we can.
The holiday is YOURS, so make sure you spend it whichever way brings you the most joy – and the least amount of stress on your pocketbook.