Financial Tips to Enjoy Your Holiday
Christmas is just around the corner. A time to celebrate family, experience simple joys, indulge in tradition, and embrace in the spirit of giving. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to give a bit more than you’re able, and end up spending months compensating for the overspending. Giving gifts to your loved one’s feels good, and generosity is contagious, but it’s important to understand your spending limits! FH Manning has created a general financial cheat sheet for enjoying everything great about Christmas, without giving what you cannot afford.
Tips to Avoid Overspending
It’s exciting to start your Christmas list, participate in gift exchanges, decorate every nook and cranny in your home, and generally embrace the holiday. However, being realistic doesn’t translate into being a holiday Grinch. You deserve to soak up the seasonal joy, and everyone has had a tough year. Here are a few tips to avoid overspending:
- Be prepared. Create a budget of what you can afford this Christmas, and don’t go over your budget. Do this as early as possible, and don’t deviate from your budget. If you know exactly how much you have to spend and draw a hard line, it’s easier to know when to stop.
- Only buy necessary gifts. You don’t have to participate in every possible gift exchange, even though it’s tempting. Those small-budget exchanges can really add up, and they often end up being filled with silly gag gifts. Buy gifts for the people on your list who you really want to give to, not simply because you feel you have to.
- Don’t volunteer for everything. You don’t have to host a big meal, provide the desserts, or bring the nice bottles of wine to your Christmas gathering. If you can’t afford these extravagances, don’t feel like you have to into provide them. Those huge feasts often create a large amount of wasted food, and no one wants that. Create a grocery list and stick to it.
- Remember that children learn by example. Embrace traditions during the holiday, not rampant consumerism.
- Don’t compare. This is easier said than done, but it’s a vicious cycle that will always end badly. You can always have more things, but you can’t buy memories and special holiday moments. Focus on those.
Stretch your budget this holiday season! Think about ways you can save, or even earn money for a little extra spending:
- Earn by switching bank accounts. Lots of banks will offer incentives for switching to them, without any money out of your pocket. You may have been wanting to switch anyway, so it doesn’t hurt to check and see if you qualify somewhere new
- Use a credit card that offers cash back. If you’re going to be spending anyway, you might as well be rewarded for your purchases. Research credit cards that provide the best value.
- Embrace perspective. The little ones in your life don’t care if you’re buying the best brands, or if you’re getting a bargain. They’re not going to judge you, so shop savvy and embrace sales.
- Buy ahead. While this may not help you immediately, items are guaranteed to be marked down after Christmas. Stock up on these great sales to gift the following year.
- Sell what you don’t use. Go through your house and think about selling anything you haven’t used in the last few years. There’s no use in accumulating things you have no need for. And, you can get some extra cash while you’re at it.
Use a Money Planner
Take the guesswork out of what you can afford this year by using a money planner, even better if it’s designed specifically for the holidays. Determine how much spending money you have currently, and how much you think you’ll have by Christmas. Then, decide on your budget for gifts, food, decorations, and travel. Knowing how much you have allotted before you actually start spending can help you avoid going over, and having a place to keep track of it makes things much easier.
Care for Your Mental Health
Remember to take care of you! After you’ve prepared a budget, used a planner, and researched ways to save money, remember that you should enjoy your holiday as well. This year has been hard enough already, and Christmas has the tendency to put extra pressure on you to feel extra happy and participate in everything you possibly can. This can trigger depression and feelings of isolation. If this is true for you, remember you are not alone and that help is always available for you. Be generous and patient with yourself, get any support you need, and celebrate the holidays in whatever ways make you happy.
We hope these tips help you feel prepared to have a great holiday, without carrying financial woes into your new year. You can truly embrace the season without overspending. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!