Most of us look forward to the holidays as a time to decompress from our busy schedules, treat ourselves and family members to gifts, consume delicious foods with friends, and enjoy quality time with loved ones.
Although our intentions typically start this way, more often than not, we succumb to the expectations and pressure to get everything done perfectly. This results in unnecessary stress which can harm our ability to make well-informed decisions that can negatively impact our finances.
Don’t break the bank this holiday season, check out these tips to help you prepare!
Determine Your Priorities
Set yourself up for success by placing a greater focus on what is important to you this season. Decide where you want to spend your time and money.
Are you planning some activities with family or friends over the holiday break? Or would you rather purchase gifts for an upcoming party at your friend’s house?
There is no right or wrong way to spend your money during this time of year, but make sure whatever you decide, it’s meaningful and worthwhile to you. If you’re organized and intentional about your spending, the less post-holiday financial stress you will have.
Create a Budget
Designing a budget should be a priority for you, as this will have a huge impact on the state of your finances to kick off the new year.
Determine how much money you have to spend based on your income, also taking into account other non-negotiable expenses you have to pay for throughout the month. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday sales and assume that you’re saving money, but actually, you’re overspending on extra items you don’t need.
Before you head out, make a shopping plan and stick to your budget. Rather than trying to get everything done in one day, spread out your shopping days so your mind is fresh and you’re able to make non-impulsive decisions.
Utilize Top of the Line Banking Coverage
While you’re bouncing around from department store, to local boutiques, then stopping for a mid-shop coffee break, it’s easy to lose track of how much money you’re actually spending in a day.
A great way to avoid going over budget while you’re on-the-go is using a mobile banking account that doesn’t charge overdraft fees, always better safe than sorry! The reality is, we all get excited and distracted as we’re shopping for the perfect gifts.
Should you forget to transfer enough funds to your checking account prior to making a purchase, or two, this type of account can have you covered and won’t charge you extra for overdrawing up to $100. There’s no time to be wasting money during this season on extra fees and charges.
Additionally, you can check your balance after every purchase you make, so you don’t make the same spending mistakes in the future.
Stick to Your Schedule
The holiday season is not a good time to start changing up your routine, neglecting self-care, and participating in every extra-curricular function presented to you.
If you feel like you’re running in a million directions trying to check everything off your list without taking time for yourself, you will end up even more stressed and depleted.
To ensure you have energy to keep up with the holiday hustle, maintain your normal routine to the best of your ability. If you need to cut your gym session short, don’t worry about it, but don’t stop going altogether.
Continue to do things you enjoy, such as cooking dinner with your family, meeting a friend for coffee, or curling up with a good book on the couch before bed. These routine practices will help you sleep better, feel less stressed overall, and give you the energy to participate in everything you intend to do during this time.
Have you ever wished you were less prepared for the holidays? Probably not.
If you’re shopping at the last minute, it’s more likely that you will end up spending more money than you originally intended, make rash purchase decisions due to emotion, and have feelings of regret regarding the money you spent.
To combat these issues, many people prefer to plan out their gifts and shop early for better deals. Looking online ahead of time through items you might want to purchase during a sale week or large promotion can help you save money and feel better knowing you took the time to research and get a good deal.
Practice eliminating unnecessary stress by saying no to things you truly don’t have time for or activities that are out of budget.
Trying to please everyone’s requests and overbooking yourself will not help you enjoy the holiday season.
Instead, remove any pressure on yourself to buy the best, most elaborate gifts, and attend every gathering you’re invited to. If you already know you’re unable to attend an event, don’t procrastinate, politely decline the invitation right then to save you time and energy debating it later on.
This time of year should be filled with plenty of relaxation, celebration, and excitement to begin a new year. Amidst the hustle, remember to take the time to prioritize your own self, your financial health, and your loved ones during this time to ensure you’re able to enjoy a stress-free holiday season!