5 Effective Strategies for Managing Financial Stress and Budgeting During the Holidays
The holidays are a time for celebration, family, friends, and of course, gift-giving. But for many people that means stress and anxiety. Financial stress is a leading cause of anxiety during the holiday season, and it can be hard to enjoy the holidays when you’re worried about money.
Whether you are trying to figure out how to afford holiday gifts, travel expenses or worrying about how you will pay your bills, money can cause a lot of stress and anxiety during the holidays. If you’re looking for ways to manage your money around the holidays, here are five helpful strategies to get you started:
- Make a budget and stick to it
The first step in managing your money around the holidays is to create a budget and stick to it. This may sound simple, but requires some preparation.
It can be helpful to make a list of your monthly expenses, which might include internet/phone bills, car insurance, rent or mortgage payments, food and groceries, transportation/gas expenses, childcare and petcare expenses. Don’t forget to factor in any unexpected expenses that may come up as well, such as unexpected repairs.
- Set a limit on gift spending
Another way to stay within your budget is to set a limit on how much you’re willing to spend on gifts, food, decorations, etc.- quantify the amount and stick to this estimate. It can also mean creating a timeline for your spending, so you don’t end up spending all your money at once. Knowing how much you can afford to spend will help reduce your anxiety.
- Shop wisely.
When you do need to buy gifts, try to shop wisely. Take advantage of sales and coupons. Look for special deals, and comparison shop to find the best prices. You may also want to consider buying handmade or recyclable gifts instead of buying new items. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to buy expensive gifts.
- Make a list and check it twice
One way to stay within your budget is to make a list of all the people you need to buy gifts for and then figure out how much you want to spend on each person. That way, you won’t end up buying things you don’t need or spending more than you planned.
- Set financial goals
If you want to get ahead financially in the new year, set some financial goals. Whether your goal is to save up for a down payment on a house or to get out of debt, having a goal will help keep you accountable and motivated.
Remember to try to take some time for yourself. Relaxing can help ease your mind and make it easier to deal with stress. Reach out for help if you need it. There is no shame in asking for help from friends or family members when you are feeling overwhelmed.
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