The holiday season is here! For many of us, the thought of spending time with family, eating delicious food and giving great gifts is a cause for celebration. But that celebration can quickly turn into despair a few months later. The eggnog-induced haze of holiday gift giving is quickly replaced by a gut-wrenching regret at how much money you spent over the holiday season.
For some, the amount of damage you do financially during the holidays follows them for months, or year, afterwards. It’s understandable that you want to give great gifts to your friends and family. But you need to stop putting yourself in debt to do so.
Don’t damage your financial future because of misguided guilt about not being able to give your loved ones the type of gifts you think they need. Live on ramen noodles for the next three months just because of one holiday doesn’t do them, or you, any good.
So let’s rethink your holiday spending. And reject the idea that we need to drop tons of cash to be good gift-givers. Let’s make a better plan.
Know When To Do It Yourself
How about making your gifts this year instead of buying individual gifts. Sites like Pinterest have a wealth of ideas to help you come up with gifts for everyone from your child’s teacher to your letter carrier.
Cookie mix or flavored hot chocolate mix presented in a mason jar isn’t expensive and is always greatly appreciated. Even flavored olive oils or—for the drinkers in your life—flavored vodkas can be made for pennies on the dollar compared to what they sell for in the store. You’d be surprised at how easy they are to make!
Another idea to consider is giving the same gift to all your friends and family. Buying ingredients in bulk helps you save time as well as money. One long Saturday afternoon can be enough for you to put all your gifts together, ready to hand out to your loved ones.
Plan Ahead To Beat Holiday Stress
Holiday spending catches many people off guard. But the holidays happen every year, so why do we act so surprised each time?
Although Black Friday deals aren’t always as great as they first appear, waiting to buy Christmas presents until December isn’t a good idea either. You may end up spending more in the panic of waiting until the last minute, if you can even find a gift at all. Ordering online may not spare you the stress of December shopping as stock can run low and delivery prices increase.
Save yourself the stress and expense of last-minute holiday shopping. Plan now for your holiday gift purchases to avoid the hassle next year.
Financially Free Holidays
Spending at the holidays can involve a lot of stress and worry about your finances. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Start now to plan your holiday spending for next year. Set a clear dollar limit per person or per family. Divide the total over the course of the year, and use automation to set that money aside. This way, you can use the money you accumulate in the account to take advantage of sales and discounts as well as off-season specials.
Plan ahead for holiday spending and work it into your budget throughout the year. Decide what you will spend on your friends and family and stick to that number. Be creative in your gift giving and consider making gifts yourself to help you stay within your spending plan.
Beware the temptation to go into credit card debt during the holiday gift-giving season. Using credit cards is fine, but only if you pay off the full amount each month. If you can’t afford a gift, don’t
Don’t be fooled by the idea of “I’ll pay for it later.” We all know that doesn’t happen. Why do you want to ruin your New Year celebrations with a Holiday Hangover when you get that credit card bill in the mail?
The views and opinions expressed are those of the guest author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of MindShift.money.
image credit: Bigstock/PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek
Wendy Priester is a former Tax Auditor turned freelance writer and certified Financially Fit Bootcamp Coach. When not working with clients to help them live their best financial life, Wendy can be found exploring the Rocky Mountains of Colorado with her two hyperactive dachshunds.