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5 Simple Steps to Reduce Holiday Financial Stress

With the holidays right around the corner, your stress levels are probably hitting an all-time high. If you are like many of us you still have not started your holiday shopping, and the clock is ticking. The good news is there are financial steps to take to build new, supportive, and healthy financial habits that make holiday shopping easier. The holidays are supposed to be a fun time to spend with your family and friends. Use these five simple steps to reduce your financial holiday stress.

    1. Set Your Budget
      Like we have discussed in previous posts setting a budget should be the number one thing that should be on your list this year. Take the time to review your income vs. your expenses, and then decide how much you are willing to spend on holiday gifts, food, etc. Consider breaking things down into categories and assign a specific dollar amount to each. This will easily help you overcome the temptation to overspend.
    2. Plan Your Shopping
      Instead of just going out without a plan take a moment to plan your trips. See if you can organize your shopping around different sales and clearance specials to save more money. If this is not applicable simply planning out what you are g going to buy and where will help avoid spontaneous spending.
    3. DIY Is Your Friend
      If you are running low on funds this season a great way to conserve money is by making your own gifts. Sometimes handmade gifts mean more than something bought at the store. Now if you are lacking in creative abilities giving your time to help someone could mean just as much as any gift you can give.
    4. Don’t Buy Something You Can’t Afford
      According to a 2016 Report from investment management firm T. Rowe Price showed many parents almost 25% dip into their emergency funds, 401K, or take out a payday loan in order to cover holiday expenses. If you can’t afford it don’t buy it. It is okay to say no your children will understand. Dipping into your savings or going into debt to ultimately buy something you might not need is more detrimental to your family than skipping a few presents.
    5. Remember What this Season is all About
      Instead of making the holidays a time where you break the bank, make it a time to do meaningful activities with your friends and family. The holidays are in fact a time to come together with your friends, family, coworkers, etc. and make memories that last a lifetime. Simply enjoying the time with loved ones will keep you from stressing over less important things.

A little planning and creativity can go a long way, and it is possible to get through the holidays without going into debt. Look forward to this holiday season because you deserve to celebrate fully and enjoy it. Don’t end your season in financial misery.