Once again the holiday season is sneaking up on us, looking to separate us from our hard earned cash. Sure, this time of year can be fun and festive, but it can induce headaches and stress as we wonder how we are going to pay for it all.
Below are five tips that will help alleviate financial stress this holiday season!
The earlier you start planning, the less likely you fall victim to impulse buys.
Try opening up a savings account dedicated solely for holiday expenditures. This will prevent you from accruing massive credit cards bills during the holiday months.
Another good strategy is to keep a list on your phone, PC or tablet where you can quickly jot down gift ideas as they arise through the year. This will discourage you from making last minute impulse purchases that are not only potentially expensive, but may not be appreciated anyway.
You have to decide what you can afford to spend in total on all holiday expenses. This means not only presents, but food, decorations, entertaining, etc. So, if you can only afford $1,000 during the holidays, $500.00 will cover presents, $300.00 will go towards holiday cards and $200.00 will go towards entertaining.
Devise a list of everyone you’d like to send gifts to and decide how much you are going to spend on each person. Giving baked goods and other home-made items instead of store bought gifts can be far less expensive and are generally much more appreciated.
3) Define Expectations
This may sounds harsh, but it’s essential to set expectation early with children – especially when the cash isn’t flowing.
Believe it or not, your little ones will appreciate the honesty and masking your money woes from them will prove detrimental down the road. If money is really tight, you may want to try drawing names and buying just one big group gift for your family member, instead of several so-so gifts for everyone.
4) Discounts are Everywhere
Refrain from buying anything online until you’ve thoroughly scoured the internet for coupons and discounts. Search the site name and “promo code” or “coupon code.”
Sites like survivingthestores.com provide printable coupons for many popular retail stores like Walgreens, Rite Aid and Target.
5) Don’t Be a Yes Man
Don’t feel obligated to attend every party and give gifts to everyone. This can quickly become overwhelming!
Try saving a few dollars by sending e-cards to distant friends and relatives. Accepting every party invitation can result in heavy babysitting expenses, purchasing new outfits or eating calorie packed deserts. The holidays will be much more enjoyable if you select a few events to attend with people you truly care about.
The holiday season doesn’t have to be plagued by financial stress. The five strategies discussed above will decrease your holiday expenditures while significantly reducing your stress; allowing you to embrace the holiday spirit and enjoy your loved ones.