Thursday, November 4, 2010

7 Tips To Spend Less And Erase Holiday Stress

The holiday season is generally a great source of stress for many people.  Rather than feeling blessed and care-free, many of us are overwhelmed by trivial things from what to buy the co-worker we don't even like to how we tell our children they just can't have it all! If you're already in debt, please don't let the holidays make it worse! Trying to please everyone is not worth your sanity or the risk of taking more baggage into the New Year. 

Here are 7 Tips to Spend Less and Erase the Anxiety & Stress of the Holidays

1. Get a plan together.  Write down any and everything you can think of from where you plan on spending the holidays to who you plan on buying a gift for and what you want to get them.  Make sure you put a dollar amount next to everything that needs to get done.  Being clear and sticking to a predetermined plan will reduce your anxiety by getting a million 'To Dos' out of your head and on paper.  You'll also save money by staying focused and not buying impulsively.

2. Arrange travel accomodations early.  As soon as you confirm that you're definitely visiting family or friends out of town, begin pricing airline tickets and rental cars.  The earlier you purchase, obviously the better. You may also want to consider taking the train to your destination. Trains are cheaper, less of a hassle and a lot nicer than many believe.  Although they take much longer, you might be able to use the time to enjoy the scenery, settle yourself and get ready for your relatives!

3. Make something personal.  Use your talents and skills to make one of a kind creations for the people you choose to bless with a gift.  If you're an artist, paint a personal masterpiece.  If you're a singer, make a CD for loved ones.  If you're an accountant, give someone a gift certificate to help them set up Quickbooks.  Be comfortable with thinking outside the box and finding the gift that lies within you.

4. Limit gift giving to your children and significant other. With so many people facing financial challenges this year, feel free to let yourself and others off the hook.  Maybe you can splurge a little more on beautiful holiday cards or take a cute family snapshot and turn it into a festive postcard to share with co-workers, distant family and friends.  But, other than that, call it a day and don't look back.  Anyone who truly values you in their lives will not be upset about a Christmas gift.  More than likely, they already see you as a person they can count on all year round.

5. Buy sporadically. Use your plan from point #1 to determine what the total estimated cost of the holidays will be and divide that number by however many paychecks you expect to receive by then.  Take that specific amount from each paycheck from now until Christmas and try to take care of a little at a time.  Don't ever blow an entire paycheck on gifts!  Remember, real life doesn't stop just because the holidays come around.

6. Start buying holiday food early.  If the festivities are at your place, start stacking up on all the items you'll need as early as possible.  Believe it or not, despite the sales advertised, many grocery store chains are known for bumping up prices around the holidays.  They know you won't go without your holiday favorites, so why wouldn't they? Stock up a little at a time and you'll be able to save overall. Not to mention, advance planning will keep you from taking a million trips to the grocery store and battling the long lines.

7.  Play Secret Santa.  Draw names of close friends and family members and arrange a potluck and gift exchange. This will allow you to save tons of time, money and stress.  Each person will be responsible for bringing one gift and one dish.  You can make it a game night and have tons of fun and spend way less than being responsible for a bunch of gifts and all the cooking.

No matter what you choose to do, remember that the holidays are a time for fun, family and peace.  Don't be guilted into over committing yourself or stressed by the after effects of over spending.  The people who love you and cherish you will just be happy to have you around.

Until Next Week,

Seek Wisdom, Find Wealth & Be Blessed

1 comment:

ilovemyhbcus said...

Great suggestions, very simple to follow