The Holidays are officially here. That means it’s time for family gatherings, shopping in busy stores and oversized dinners that provide leftovers for a week. While these are not at all bad, it is important to know that for many the holidays tend to be some of the most stressful times of the year. Often times, we want to make others happy, so we have tendency to overspend on holiday giving. The look of joy on a loved ones face when they open that item they have been waiting for all year long is truly priceless.
Overspending during the holidays can lead to increased levels of stress, which can in turn lead to losing sleep, lowered immunity and an overall feeling of being worried and concerned about finances. While there is no secret recipe to completely eliminating all of the stress that comes along with the holiday season, one of the most important things you can do is to create a budget for your holiday expenses.
Here are few tips for creating your budget:
1. Analyze your bills and identify the expenses that you know will be paid for sure during the holiday season. For example, electricity bills, rent/mortgage, phone bills and food allotment will certainly come due. Make sure to include your everyday expenses such as groceries, gas, etc. From there, you should be able to identify the amount of money that you will have available to spend on holiday expenses if no other expenses are incurred.
2. Set a limit on the amount of money that you will spend on each gift. If some gifts are less, then you have more to put toward others. If some gifts are more than the allotted amount, then others will need to be a little less expensive. Try not to go over your budgeted amount.
3. If you are hosting a family visit or dinner, make sure to plan for the costs associated with the dinner by starting to put your dinner menu together early and taking note of the current costs of items when you are at the store.
4. Try to avoid waiting until the last minute to shop for gifts and dinner/grocery items. Often times, waiting until the last minute means less of a selection, and many times only the most expensive items are left.
5. Avoid using high interest credit cards if possible. Paying for this year’s holiday expenses for the next 2 years can cost a lot of money and lead to stressful feelings during that time.
After the holidays are over, you can take a deep breath and think back on the fun that you had during the season. Then it’s time to start planning for next year to avoid the last minute budgeting and rush that could go along with next year’s season. At Spokane Federal Credit Union, we know that financial stress can make life difficult at times. We have put together several options for our members to help with these special times of the year, including our Holiday Club Account which allows you to save year-round for the holidays. We also offer a special low rate, shorter term (12 months) holiday loan to help with expenses during this time of year to help avoid paying high interest credit card rates.
The holidays are a special time, and we want you to enjoy them. Feel free to reach out your friends at Spokane Federal Credit Union at 509-328-2900 and/or click here if you would like to learn more about our holiday programs.