The Holiday season can bring on mixed feelings for people: joy, appreciation, love, STRESS. Sometimes, simple adulthood can bring awareness of the season’s stress as well. This stress could include traveling, cooking holiday dinners, hosting house guests and family and a ton of other responsibilities that can turn the merriest elf into a Grinch.
The financial pressure of gift-giving alone can cause anxiety, and that’s why starting a new holiday tradition may be for you. Starting new traditions by changing the way the season is celebrated may be your answer. Instead of buying a lot of gifts, spend more time with family and friends at inexpensive game nights, potlucks at home, or going to the movies or bowling. This way, any money spent is purely about spending time with the ones you care about the most and building memories.
Shopping with a purpose is another way to celebrate the holiday season. Family members, co-workers or a group of friends can “adopt” a child or family for Christmas by purchasing gift-list items and/or supplying a holiday meal. This gives shopping a greater purpose and shows a person in need that someone other than his or her family cares about them.
While consulting clients, the stress of the season comes up regularly. Parents sometimes feel inadequate if they can’t give their children everything they have on their Christmas list. What I advise these parents and others to do is to start their own financially savvy traditions when it comes to shopping. The key is to prepare in advance for the season. To help you out, I’ve prepared eight useful traditions to get you started:
- Earn gift cards throughout the year when shopping.
- Buy Gift Cards throughout the year and save them until it’s time to holiday shop.
- Make a budget. Make a gift list. Stick to both.
- Create a shopping schedule. For example: Purchase two gifts a month.
- Use websites like E-bates to earn cash back and search for coupons and discounts.
- Sign up for programs such as Toys for Tots in your area if you are low-income.
- Consider giving out one gift per family, as opposed to a gift for everyone in the family.
- Get a head start on the coming year and reap great savings by shopping the “After-Christmas” sales.
Start New Traditions and Enjoy the Holiday Season – in the green!!