The statistics are out there-telling us, financially, the holiday season is not all merry & bright. Many of us struggle to stick to a holiday budget-if we’ve even attempted to create one. (Am I right?) According to yougov.com, 15% of Americans are still paying off 2017’s holiday debt.
One key to avoiding the dreaded Holiday Financial Hangover is to Find your WHY for overspending.
______ Give yourself a pass on even attempting a budget or spend plan?
______ Underestimate the number of people you give gifts to each year?
______ Forget about other special, seasonal spending: Charitable giving, Christmas parties, new clothes, cards, mailing costs, family pictures, etc.?
______ Lack organization. Set a budget, but then didn’t keep track of spending?
______ See gift giving & gift getting = Love, making it tough to stop?
______ Have family expectations and pressures, or maybe just a large family?
Did you Find your WHY? Or 2? or 3? No worries, here are some tips for a debt free season.
1) Set a budget for spending EQUAL TO what you’ve saved
-List all holiday costs (gifts, events, mailing, etc.) before the holidays
-Don’t give yourself a budget “pass” just because it’s a special season.
2) Get Creative
-Give the gift of time to loved ones, by sharing special experiences and activities
-Use your talents and interests to make homemade gifts
-Remember it is not the value or size of the gift, but how fitting it is for the receiver
3) Refocus Family Expectations
-Create or revitalize a special family tradition
-Play the lottery (not literally). Include each family member’s name in a secret drawing. Everyone will get and receive a gift from one other person. Saving and a fun surprise.
-Do what is right and works for your family now…not what worked in the past
A final word, courtesy of the Grinch from Dr. Seuss’s classic tale, who reminds us that one of the best things about this season is to reflect on the season and its deeper reason. “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”
If you read this too late to avoid the Holiday Financial Hangover, check out our Meet Us page. One of our Better Accredited Financial Counselors can meet with you virtually–while you’re drinking cocoa and wearing your brightest, fuzziest socks–to create a plan to get that debt gone, soon! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Best Wishes for the coming New Year!