People experience all kinds of extra stress during the holidays. From having more to do to feeling emotional about friends and family you are unable to visit, there are numerous factors. Another stressor is the financial toll the holidays can take. Shoppers often rely on credit cards to get them through the holiday season, which can result in spending beyond their means. After all, credit card debt is one of the most common causes of bankruptcy.
With so many gifts to give, is it possible to prevent or reduce financial stress during the holidays? Believe it or not—yes. You can make the holidays a more enjoyable time by taking the following measures to prevent financial stress:
Stick to a Budget
Plan your holiday shopping around what you can afford. By sticking to a budget, you can avoid overspending and adding on to your debt. Perhaps you can cut back on how many gifts you purchase. You can also try a gift exchange or talk to your loved ones about what they want, rather than guessing the perfect gift for them. For most people, the thought counts more than the money you spend on them.
Pay with Cash If Possible
If you depend on credit cards, it is easier to spend beyond your means. Knowing how much cash is available for gifts can help you plan your purchases. The holiday joy is conducive to impulsive spending. But soon after the new year begins, the bills will start coming in and you won’t be so happy if your cards are charged up.
Set Some Rules
If you have a large family, set gift giving and receiving rules. These can prevent overspending and family members from resenting your thoughtfulness. Also set expectations for children. The more ground rules you set, the less likely it is for your home to be filled with arguments over holiday gifts. Setting rules can also provide guidelines on types of gifts to give and what to spend.
Avoid Last-Minute Shopping
Waiting until just before the holiday increases the likelihood of impulsive shopping. The more holiday deals you see, the better the chances of too much of a good thing. You can end up spending much more than you ordinarily would instead of saving. Last-minute shopping increases your overall stress level as well, since you’re more likely to deal with crowds, out-of-stock items, and traffic.
Put your own name on your gift list. There’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for a year full of hard work. Also, take time to relax by the fireplace, read a book, take a bath, or watch television. Some exercise doesn’t hurt either; the release of endorphins can help reduce physical and emotional stress.
Other ways to reduce financial stress this holiday season include:
- Skipping gift giving and donating the money to non-profit organizations or those in need.
- Host a potluck meal, in which all your guests contribute, to save on food and beverages.
- Stock away an extra gift in case an extra visitor attends a holiday gathering, or you forget someone.
In a Financial Bind? Call OakTree Law
If holiday spending has increased your debt to uncomfortable levels, speak to our bankruptcy attorney in Los Angeles, who can discuss your options. We can go over possible alternatives to bankruptcy or discuss how it can be a positive solution to your financial problems. For assistance getting back on your financial feet, request a free evaluation with OakTree Law or call us at 888-219-0654 today.