I LOVE the holidays. I love the food, the friends, the family, the decorations, the lights, and the overall merriment. But Christmas can be a stressful time. People worry about what to give friends and family, HOW they are going to pay for those gifts, time is almost non-existent as people run from one engagement to another. Stress is not the reason for the season! So here are some tips to help minimize the stress and financial strain this time of year can bring!
Tip #1: Create a Budget
Create a budget that includes EVERYTHING…the gifts, the Christmas cards, the postage, the decorations, the extra food costs associated with potlucks and parties, the stocking stuffers, etc.
Sit down and make a list of all the people you are wanting to give a gift to and the parties you are hosting and attending then start writing out your estimated costs. Add them up! Can you afford to pay that amount RIGHT NOW with cash? If not, look ways to trim those numbers down.
Tip #2: Pay with cash
This tip goes hand in hand with tip #1… Paying for your Christmas with cash will allow you to truly enjoy the season and not have a panic attack come January when you receive your credit card statement.
Tip #3: Evaluate your gift list
More often than not you’re buying for a ton of people. Which is very nice of you by the way! 🙂 But most adults don’t need another blanket or another picture frame. Your second cousin’s best friend will not lose sleep if you do not give her a gift.
Tip #4: Draw names!
I suggested this to Matt’s family a couple of years ago and everyone was relieved and happy to draw names. We still buy for the kids but for the adults we only have to buy for one person and we cap that gift at a certain value. This allows everyone to still receive a gift but not worry about having to buy (and in our case-ship) a TON of presents.
Tip #5: Bake a present
Do you still want to give your neighbor, your kid’s teacher, your co-workers, your aunt a present but don’t really know what to get them? Bake a treat! This allows you to give fairly inexpensively and it means the recipient won’t have another gift that they do not really want crowding their house. And, honestly…who doesn’t love food?!
Tip #6: Host a potluck instead of a huge dinner party
Tis the season to party! But instead of you hosting and paying for a large get together host a potluck instead. You can even assign guests items. Telling them you will cover the meat than Bob and Sue should bring a bread dish, Pete is in charge of a dessert and so on. I have never heard anyone complain about bringing a dish and everyone gets together to enjoy themselves for very little money! Plus this takes the stress off the party host from having to plan, prepare and pay for a large menu!
We are just scratching the surface of money and stress saving tips for you holiday season…stay tuned as we share more!