What to Focus on During the Holiday Season

This holiday season, don’t let yourself get too stressed out.

This holiday season, don’t let yourself get too stressed out. This is the time of year when we tend to spend more money than normal and make important decisions resulting in the end of a year. Many people call this the season of ‘joy’ when in reality, many of us are stressed out, worried, and overwhelmed. Before you begin your preparations, here are some holiday money tips that could help you become less financially and mentally stressed.

Holiday Spending

There is always going to be something we want and what better time of the year to ask for those wants from other people. Gifts and presents are a way to receive items that we don’t consider a necessity. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, the discounts make purchasing items you’ve wanted for a while hard to pass up, but remember to focus on purchasing gifts for other people. If you happen to come across something you like, tell your friends and family and add that item to their list of possible gifts for you.

If you find yourself buying items for yourself this time of year, with the only reason being it was on sale, you are most likely buying out of impulse. Have you ever gone grocery shopping and end up spending way more than you planned because of items that weren’t on your list? Initially, you don’t see a problem, but after seeing your receipt, it could be a big reason for your financial stress. Read through some proactive tips to stop impulse spending to help ease some of that stress you might be experiencing.

It seems that this is the time of the year when you can’t think of things or gifts you want. Making a list will help you organize your thoughts. Remember to add items to your list as you come across them while shopping online or in-store. Receiving gifts is the best way to get something you’ve been wanting, but felt as though you didn’t really need to spend money on.

Necessary Budgeting

Trying to figure out what gifts you are going to purchase for your friends and family and how much you will spend on them can definitely cause stress. This could be due to the fact that your other bills don’t go away. You still have to spend a majority of your paycheck on your needs such as rent or mortgage, utilities, gas and groceries, and other necessities in your life. You are used to spending your money on these every month, but adding on another lump of money for gifts can be scary.

To avoid being short on money in the months of November and December, try making a list or budget spreadsheet in excel with the amounts of money you know you’ll be spending. Go back to this list and add gifts and the prices of those items to your spreadsheet. Seeing a visual of the money you know you need to spend will allow you to create a budget for each gift you plan to purchase.

You should never feel the need to purchase something expensive for one person, especially this year as many things have dramatically increased in price. If for some reason you find yourself wanting to buy a specific item that is costly, reach out to other friends or family members to see if they are willing to go in on the gift with you. This way, one special person will get a great gift, but not at the expense of one person’s wallet.

Decision Making

This time of year also brings opportunities to many working professionals. There are many decisions that need to be made within one’s job to make the holidays flow smoothly. Your company most likely offers some sort of paid time off or vacation time and now is the time to make sure you fully utilize these benefits.

If spending the holidays with your family and friends free of work is important to you, then navigating your company’s policy properly is crucial. If your company doesn’t allow vacation time to rollover into the next year, using it up during the holiday season might be a good idea. Planning ahead is always smart, so start considering your vacation time for the next year to make sure you have enough. 

Another important decision to make would be to look over your benefits package that your company offers because the open enrollment period is during this time of the year. So much could change in a year and since this period of time only happens once a year, it is beneficial to at least look everything over and make sure you’re enrolled in all the benefits you want. You might not think you want or need to change anything about your benefits, but looking it over could help you solidify that decision.

If you’re a business owner, remember to reach out to your employees and remind them of what the end of the year should look like. Help your employees stay engaged with their benefits while navigating this busy season.

So, make this holiday season one full of joy and leave the stress behind. 

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