The holiday season really can be the most wonderful time of the year, but it also comes with its own unique stressors. It’s probably no surprise that, according to the American Psychological Association, money is usually the biggest worry for families during the holidays.
Not only do some fixed costs, like heating bills, rise, but you must also consider holiday expenses like gifts, travel and large family meals. The list could go on!
Planning early can help you get ready for the holiday season. Here are some tips to help you avoid holiday-related financial stress this year, and help you prepare even earlier next year.
Create a spending plan and track your progress
Set your budget for the holiday season and stick to it! Start by reviewing what you spent on the holidays last year to estimate how much you’ll be spending this year. Then break the budget into categories. Consider the following:
- Do you need to buy gifts? Who are you buying gifts for?
- Are you traveling this year?
- Are you planning or contributing to a large family meal?
- Are there other holiday activities or traditions that you want to spend money on this year?
It’s wise to save a little money from each paycheck in a separate savings account throughout the year. That way you’re ready to cover your holiday expenses when the time comes. Veridian’s Holiday Club accounts let you save money for the holidays throughout the year and earn interest.
Decide what’s important
If your budget doesn’t have room for all your plans, look for extras you can cut out. Do you need to buy presents for everyone, or could you draw names and do a gift exchange?
If you can’t stop yourself from buying “just one more” gift, create fewer opportunities for that to happen. Stay away from malls and online retailers unless you have a specific need.
And remember that a deal on something you don’t need isn’t really a deal because you’re still spending money. You can also leave your credit and debit cards at home and only carry the cash you can afford to spend.
Ask for help
Research shows a support system can keep you on track and provide accountability. Make your goals known so your friends and family can help you reach them.
Veridian Credit Union has resources that can help you set and stick to your holiday spending goals. To schedule a free one-on-one session with our Community Inclusion department, fill out the form below and we’ll reach out soon.