The Christmas music began before the last of the Halloween candy was snatched up and – whether you love it or hate it – you’ll feel the drive soon enough to wear out your credit cards and use up every last pay cheque on gifts, wrapping, décor and food!
Your cozy holiday can quickly become stressful if you allow maxed-out cards and depleted banks accounts to rule the season. Here are a few solutions to help you avoid financial strain this year.
Make a List Now
You may know that buying gifts for absolutely everyone in your life is ridiculous, but once you’re out shopping your enthusiasm can get the best of you. Next thing you know, you’ve bought something for the nice guy at the end of the street and your yoga instructor. Avoid spur-of-the-moment spending by arming yourself with a thorough but sensible gift list and start checking people off now. Shopping without a plan, at the last minute, leaves no time for careful consideration or comparison-shopping. Getting started early will lessen the stress on your mind and your wallet.
Set a Budget
We all know that a budget saves time and money, but so many of us still fail to make one. With your list in hand, decide how much you can set aside for each gift, and discuss any limits honestly with loved ones.
Take Care of Yourself
This can be a stressful time of year for us all, and the sales can be tempting! Instead of spending money to reward yourself for a job well done or to feel good, find free or more affordable ways to give yourself that gratification. Take time out to rewind, or relax with family and friends. No one ever says they wish they spent more of their holiday at the mall!
Gifts that take thought and effort, rather than costing an arm and a leg, are the ones that get remembered. Look at your talents or interests and create a gift based on them. If you love to bake, make cookies or cake. If you have a knack for writing, create an original story or poem. Don’t underestimate the value of a gift of your time, talent and thought.
It is possible to emerge from the holiday season without a mountain of debt. Planning in advance, budgeting and having the commitment to stick to it are the keys.
Need Support Now?
If financial planning isn’t your strongest suit Unison can provide you with access to a financial expert who can assist you with any question you might have about credit or debt management, budgeting, bankruptcy, taxes or financial aspects of a separation.
Unison’s Assistance Program is always free and completely confidential. 1-855-9UNISON (1-855-986-4766)