As the holidays loom, are you stressing out about all the gifts you have to buy and how much they'll cost?
And the food for holiday dinners? And the cocktail dress (or ugly sweater) you need* for holiday parties? And the cost of holiday travel?
With all of those expectations, it's no wonder people worry about their finances this time of year.
Our Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine team shares some top tips for enjoying the holidays while sticking to your budget.
One of the best things you can do is to talk with your family well before the holidays about how to celebrate. Your discussion might include:
- How much you'll spend on kids and adults
- How much to spend on travel and food expenses
- Who is hosting and everyone's responsibilities there
Set a Limit
Take the time to create a holiday budget and stick to it. This may mean declining invitations and possibly disappointing people. Remember that it's OK for your family to have your own priorities.
Get Back to Basics
Don't lose sight of what really matters during this special time of year. Holidays are about fellowship and spending time together. Prioritize that and not the gifts.
Plan ahead so you can be present with family members and not spend your time in the kitchen.
Give gifts that are meaningful and convey love for that person. That's what important.
Also consider buying nice things from consignment shops or Goodwill, especially if they are for kids who are still growing.
Learn to Say "No"
This time of year, it's nearly impossible to get through a day without multiple requests for donations. Again, it's OK to say no.
Consider other ways to act charitably that don't involve money. Give the gift of your time, for example: reading to others or driving them to a doctor's appointment.
A word about alcohol: Not only is it expensive, it can cause a lot of problems for those who can't resist temptation. Be aware of how much you have around. If you need more, you can always go buy it.
If you stick to your financial plan, you'll surely enjoy the holidays more. And you won't enter the new year feeling anxious about your finances.