The festive season is a favourite time of year for many people around the world. A time of year filled with celebratory traditions, fanciful feasts and gift giving. It is also the time of year, where credit limits are high and spending goes beyond budgets, goals and personal limits; all in the name of keeping up with the spirit of the holiday. It is not unusual for many of us to take an entire year to pay off bills from the previous festive season. Most of the holiday debt is amassed from over the top, and over limit gift purchases.
Over spending in the holidays is a big reason for the post holiday blues. You can still enjoy the festive season without breaking the bank. Here are a few quick tips to help you keep things in check and balance this holiday season.
Tips on Holiday Money Matters
1. Decide in the fall what is important to you as a person when it comes to expressing your gratitude, love, appreciation and festive mood in relation to gift giving. You might consider your budget, personal values, and environmental and/or social stance. Write down your thoughts so you have a point of reference before you start buying gifts. This way you won’t be swayed by the frenzy of the holidays that can be compounded by peer pressure, advertising or family wish lists.
2. Our digital times have made it very easy to spend money without much feeling around it. With a quick swipe or tap you pay for your purchase and off you go to the next store. Consider making a shopping list in advance and pay for your purchases in cash. This will help you reduce impulse buying and over spending.
3. You know your budget way before the festive season begins. Keep a little note in your wallet or on your fridge to remind you of a savings goal or financial milestone. Doing this will help you not lose your judgment and make those long term dreams more likely to be achieved.
4. Be realistic of the costs that you might incur during the holidays. Cabs, specialty lattes, dining out and entertainment prices go up this time of year and add that on top of expensive gifts, you are setting yourself to spend more than you can afford. Commit to a reasonable dollar amount for treats, entertainment and dining and stick to it. Be practical when buying gifts. Over the top and expensive gifts will set you back financially and emotionally depleted if you are making purchases beyond your means.
5. Curb the consumerism; increase gestures of service and creativity. There are other ways to show your generosity and express your merriment during the holidays, in lieu of buying a gift at your local shopping mall. Why not support a charity with a gift-in-kind, offer a gift card for a service you offer or use your creativity to make, bake or build a DIY gift. It will help you to express your generosity and your creativity and stick to your goals and values.