The Holiday season should be a happy time of year for all to enjoy spending time with their loved ones. Unfortunately, it can also be a stressful time of year due to the financial pressures of multiple Holiday gatherings, travel to get to loved ones and purchasing gifts for the season.
Here are some tips that I hope you find helpful to make your Holiday season less financially stressful:
Just plan to be together. The last two years or so has taught us that being together was something we had taken for granted. Having to spend the Holiday season without your friends and/or family was very difficult. Now that most of the restrictions have been removed and we are able to be together, just do that, be together. Find some boards games to play or ask each person/family to put together pictures of the milestones that occurred over the last couple years that were missed and recreate those moments and celebrate them together.
Another tip that can be helpful with your budget is just being creative. Grandparents and friends love spending time with littles ones, especially this time of year. Don’t forget about making coupons for watching the kids while the parents relax and have movie night in or out! Make coupons for shovelling a driveway or delivery of supper one night. For friend groups, consider doing potlucks versus going out for dinner.
If you are purchasing gifts throughout the season, here are some tips to help you stay on track:
Shopping throughout the year can be beneficial. This can really help spread out your spending so that it doesn’t have such an impact on your November/December budget. There is a pitfall to be mindful of should you wish to shop early. Ensuring that you keep a detailed list of what you purchased along the way and for whom. If you are like me, you forget what you bought and then start wrapping gifts and suddenly you realize you have bought way too much.
Online shopping has become one of the most common ways for people to shop. If shopping online, check to see if you can set up price alerts on the items you would like to purchase, hopefully you can get that item while it is on sale. The other factor to consider when ordering online is shipping, ensure that you know what it will cost to ship before you hit the purchase button. Shipping can sometimes be more than the item you are purchasing and can quickly throw your budget off. Review your budget once you know what the total cost will be including shipping and if it works for the budget, add it to your cart!!
Having a list of who you need to buy for and setting a budget for each person is also a great way to help stay on track. Once you have your list and budget, then you can start to think of what items you would like to purchase for that person. Revisiting this list often is essential to staying on track. Once a gift is purchased, ensure you update your list with who the gift was for and the amount that was spent.
I am very lucky to have a large family and our get togethers can be a lot of fun, but also costly around the Holiday season, with having to buy a gift for everyone. A few years back we decided to do a gift exchange so that each of us is only buying one gift and put a limit on the amount of the gift. Then let the chaos of stealing someone else’s gift begin. There are so many laughs, and the creativity is amazing. Moving to a gift exchange was great for the budget, but also so much fun.
Have the happiest of Holiday Seasons and I hope that these tips helped elevate some financial pressures this year.