Wellness & Education

Managing Holiday Stress- The Budget

Most people enjoy getting holiday gifts and cards in November and December. The same can’t be said for opening holiday credit card bills in January. Here are some 6 tips for  preventing post-holiday debtor’s remorse:

  • Have realistic expectations for the holiday. You’ll be less tempted to try to buy perfection if you’ve already accepted that perfection is not realistic or even desirable.
  • Make a list of everyone you have to buy for, with a spending limit for each gift. If you overspend on one gift, make it a point to underspend on another one.
  • Start shopping early…as in right after the previous Christmas if you can manage it. This allows you to leverage each year’s after-Christmas sales, which can result in big savings. If you can’t start quite that early, use a calendar of traditional retail sales to help you make purchases at the lowest possible price. A Bargain Shopper’s Comprehensive Guide to End-of-Season Sales (thebalancemoney.com)
  •  If you can’t afford the “perfect” gift, maybe the gift you have in mind isn’t so perfect. The gift of time spent with a loved one, or time spent making a handmade gift, can create a memory that will be treasured long after the wrapping paper is gone.
  • Remember to budget for travel expenses. Many of us have multiple households to visit during the holidays, and gas costs can add up. If hotels and restaurants are part of the equation, you may need to save costs elsewhere.
  • Don’t let someone else’s greed hijack your budget. It’s hard to admit, but sometimes even our own family members expect expensive “tribute” gifts. This can be as true of adults as it is of children. While it’s ok to give token gifts to keep the peace in some situations, it’s not okay to let someone else guilt us into spending more than we can afford. Besides, if someone is excessively demanding, we’d probably prefer to spend the money on someone else who is less selfish and to whom we are closer.