Shopping for the family this Christmas can be a blow to the finances. Here’s how to cope with the financial stress of the festive season.
Published: Tuesday, December 6th 2016
With the pressure and stress of getting all your family the perfect present, you may feel like you simply cannot cope.Well, don't despair. You may find that you are stressing yourself out unnecessarily. Often, at the end of the holiday, we realise how we blew things out of proportion and stressed about things that perhaps were out of our control. There are, however, some ways to avoid feeling the financial strain usually associated with holidays.
Here Are 5 Ways To Cope With Financial Stress In The Holidays
1. Budget Now Or Cry Later
Financial advice is funny. One personal finance tip applies to a multitude of different situations, yet we always seem surprised when they are mentioned.
If you are already behind on bills, budgeting for presents may seem like an impossible task. Planning a holiday budget (after all expenses) by aiming to pay cash for presents, and taking advantage of the festive sales, can make something you thought impossible, possible.
Avoid applying for department store credit cards that can put you further into debt.
2. Avoid Stressful Shopping Situations
Shopping amongst the crowds, in the festive season, can be the stuff nightmares are made of. And, even if you have the cash, it would be best to rather avoid it.To get this right, start your Christmas shopping early to not only ensure you can financially swing it, but to avoid all the natural stressors, such as crowded malls and depleting stock.Alternatively, if you know shopping can stress you out, try shopping online and have all the presents come to you. Gift wrapped and all!
3. Remember What's Really Important
Christmas is the time for family to get together and enjoy each other's company. Stressing out about one's finances can so easily distract you from what the holiday is actually about.
"The best way to cope with a materialistic time of year is not to fall prey to pressure from the retail world and spend, because it is what you do during the holidays," says Carla Blair-Gamblian, a Veterans United Home Loans consultant in the States.
This is easier said than done when you are dealing with kids, but Blair-Gamblian suggests explaining the importance of the holiday, "[It's] about religion and family. Focus on that."
Who said gifts have to cost money? Get creative at home with some DIY projects. A gift can mean so much more if the receiver knows it is handmade by you.Keep the kids entertained in the holidays by involving them in the project and you can kill two birds with one stone. Pinterest can be a wonderful tool for finding inspiration.Check out this awesome water marbling tutorial using nail polish, warm water, a plain mug and a toothpick.
5. Don't Blow Things Out Of Proportion!
If you can't afford that new iPad for your child, that's all there is to it. Blair-Gamblian gives the most comforting and spot-on-advice:
"At the end of the day, most children don't remember many of their holiday gifts anyway," she says.
How many of us actually remember gifts that we got growing up? The gifts you probably do remember are the bright knitted socks from Grandma or a friendship necklace from your best friend when you were 12.
"Trendy items come with a large price tag and a short shelf life," Blair-Gamblian says.
Dealing with holiday financial stress can be an all-consuming feeling, which you may procrastinate over all year. The most important thing to remember is to focus on what you can do, not on what you can't.