One of the most common and fastest ways people become overwhelmed during the holidays is by overspending. Being financially unprepared for the holiday season leads to bad habits and poor choices that can have serious repercussions at the beginning of the new year.
Holiday spending involves more than buying gifts. It’s usually a lot of small things that quickly add up: holiday décor, groceries, extra events and activities, donations, and of course, gifts. Overspending creates debt and causes unnecessary stress. You don’t have to overspend or go into debt to make the holidays special. Follow these do’s and don’ts to help maintain your financial health during the holidays.
DO create a holiday budget before the holidays. Each year is different in terms of the amount of money you have available to spend. Some years your financial resources are plentiful, and some years they are lean. Create a budget before the holidays based on your current financial situation and stick to it to prevent overspending.
DO find fun and novel ways to make extra cash. Host an annual yard sale or offer a side hustle that brings in extra cash and deposit it in a holiday fund. Enlist the help of family to identify new ways to make extra cash to cover the additional costs associated with the holiday season.
DO be clear about holiday must-haves before spending. Commercialism can make it difficult to avoid impulse buying. Therefore, be very deliberate about what matters to you most during this season and plan accordingly.
DON’T worry about what other people are doing. It’s an age-old concept but still rings true: Don’t worry about what the Jones’ are doing. You don’t need to keep up with anyone else or be influenced by their spending habits. Focus on your own family and what makes sense for your unique needs during the holiday season.
DON’T forget the benefits of advance planning. Procrastination feeds overspending. Don’t put off tasks such as food shopping and other necessities that take a chunk out of your budget. By planning early, you can find deals and be less stressed when the holidays roll around so that you can fully enjoy the season.
DON’T allow guilt to make you overspend. Learn how to say NO and mean it. Don’t allow guilt to drive your financial decisions. Keep your finances under control by setting healthy spending limits.
The unexpected expenses that come with holiday celebrations have the potential to strain your budget. Don’t allow impulse buying and other poor financial decisions to undermine your sanity, joy, and peace. Keep money matters in perspective so that you can enjoy a happy and financially healthy holiday season.
Until Next Time,