How to Financially Survive the Holidays (and keep your relationships strong!)

Seeing that Americans racked up an average of $1,054 in extra debt during last year's holiday season, it's easy to see why money is a major holiday stressor.

If the holidays stress you out, you’re not alone. About 61% of people experience holiday stress.1


So, what’s all the stress about?


The top two holiday stressors are a lack of time and a lack of money.


In fact, people of all generations worry that they won’t have enough time to get everything done, make everything perfect, or spend time with the people they love. They’re also worried about overspending or going into debt trying to buy everyone the perfect gifts.1

Seeing that Americans racked up an average of $1,054 in extra debt during last year’s holiday season, it’s easy to see why money is a major holiday stressor.2

For many, coping with holiday stress can lead to bad habits—like comfort eating or running up credit card debt.1,3

So, with the holidays upon us, here’s what’s important to remember: you don’t have to fall into the holiday stress trap!

With the right strategies and mindset, you can manage and reduce the financial and emotional stress of the holidays. And that can be your key to truly enjoying the holiday season, instead of just trying to survive and get through it!

7 Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Stressing Out

#1 - Make a Game Plan for the Holidays

List everything you need to accomplish, and make a realistic plan. There never seems to be enough time during the holidays. A good game plan can help you avoid last-minute scrambles, which are almost always sources of (avoidable) stress

#2 - Prioritize Your Expenses

What do you absolutely have to pay for this holiday season?  Do you have to buy food for a holiday party? Will you be traveling to visit loved ones? Prioritize the expenses you know you’ll have to make. This is a great way to manage spending and avoid blowing your budget.

#3 - Set Some Boundaries

Holiday plans can become overwhelming.  So, think about what you can actually do this season. Is there a limit to how far you’re willing to travel? Can you only commit to a certain number of parties? With some clear boundaries, you’ll be able to spend your time and your money in truly gratifying ways this holiday season.

#4 - Build Memories Together

Memories are the gifts that keep on giving. So, make the most of the time you get with your loved ones. Do something together, and let yourself enjoy that moment instead of thinking about the next thing you have to do. Try reliving a favorite holiday experience with your family or starting a new tradition. No matter what you do, the shared experience can make you all happy in the moment—and create lasting, happy memories.4

#5 - Prioritize Gifts of Lasting Value

Some of the best, most meaningful gifts can be things you don’t buy from a store.  So, if you’re looking to give a truly thoughtful gift (and maybe even cut back on your gift budget), consider giving a one-of-a-kind present. Photographs and heirlooms can offer enduring value; so can things you make, like a personalized cookbook, or gifts that offer an experience, like a hot air balloon ride.

#6 - Give Yourself the Gift of Care

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays, taking care of yourself can fall to the bottom of your “To Do” list. Don’t let it. Carve out enough time to rest and eat healthy. And make time to do something that brings you joy. If you’re rested and well nourished, you’ll feel better—and the better you feel, the happier you will likely be.5

#7 - Focus on What Matters

Don’t let yourself get caught up in the details. Inevitably, something won’t go as planned, a detail will be forgotten, or something unexpected will come up. So, try to focus on what’s gone right and why you’re investing so much time and money into your holiday celebrations. If you stay focused on the big picture, you can take the smaller stressors in stride.

Final Lesson:

Enjoying the Holidays Doesn’t Have to Compromise Your Finances or Your Sanity
The holidays can definitely turn up the pressure when it comes to time and money. Trying to juggle everything from finances and family to work, parties, and gifts can be stressful. And that stress can take a real toll on your well-being and important relationships.

Instead of ignoring or giving into the holiday stress, regain the joy of the season by focusing on the right priorities: cherishing the people you love.

With a plan, some boundaries, and the right priorities, you can invest your time and money into the things that give you joy during the holidays. And that can mean a far better outlook as you enter the New Year.

As a financial adviser, I’ve seen how holiday pressure takes focus away from what really matters and causes financial and mental stress. And I’ve helped many clients embrace the holiday spirit without going off track. The truth is good financial health isn’t just about portfolios and investments—it’s also about good day-to-day behaviors, budgets, and thoughtful spending.

So, if you’re stressed about finances this holiday season, give some thought to the holiday survival tips I shared above—and give my office a call. I’d love to hear about your holiday plans and help you create a personal financial strategy for the holiday season.

Happy Holidays to you, your family and loved ones!!


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