by Briana Cavanaugh
The winter holidays can be a lot of fun. But this season is certainly a lot of stress for many people – especially financial stress. Below are 6 holiday money saving tips to help you stay financially sane this holiday season!
It’s fun to go to parties, but the constant pressure that many of us feel to give gifts, and attend events and social obligations, and to give money to organizations we love – happens all at once! It’s confusing at best and often leads to exhaustion, burn out, and over-spending. So how do you get it all done and keep it all together without blowing your budget?
1. Make a list and check it twice! As cheesy as it might sound, having a list of people to buy for and a calendar of “must do” events can help you create the clarity you need to make sure the important things get done. Any time you get overwhelmed you can come back to that “must do = must buy” list and ask yourself, “Is this on the list?” That moment of coming back to center can help you make the right decisions for you. Sometimes the right answer is saying “yes!” to that last minute event, and sometimes the right thing is to say “no” even if it’s hard.
2. Schedule your down time. Making sure that you eat – every day – is critical.
So is spending time at home doing your dishes, making the bed, and having time to yourself. Put it on the calendar. That way you know that you have time to do the critical self-care things. That way when you go back out into the fray, you feel grounded and refreshed!
3. Make a budget – and stick to it. Knowing your numbers and tracking your money is something I always recommend. And it can really help you stay sane during the holidays by giving you the confidence and clarity you need to make the right decisions for you. Make sure you include everything, from the trip to visit family to the present for your mail carrier. And make sure that if the numbers change that you add that last minute dinner with the friend from out of town, so you stay on track!
4. Prioritize. I know this might sound like blasphemy to some, but consider not doing it all. Consider seeing some people in January, or June so that everyone feels loved and no one feels burdened. I stopped making the trek home for Thanksgiving and Christmas because it was just too much. Instead we make a trip over the summer. It’s a lot more fun to see people when I’m not worried about money or having to slip in a work phone call between conversations with my dad and hugging my niece!
5. Put yourself first! It is your life. You are generous and you want to do the right thing. What is the right thing? I find that the right thing for my family is to have a mom who is not insanely trying to do everything and comes home grumpy and stressed out. I find that the right thing is to teach my son self-care and my values by actually living them. Two of those values are to be healthy and loving to myself and others. I can’t be loving if I’m at my wit’s end and haven’t eaten all day!
6. Breathe! Every time you have a feeling that you’re overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Then take another one. We often don’t get enough oxygen when we’re stressed which enhances the stress hormones in our brains. However, when we are under less stress we make better decisions. So help yourself make better decisions by taking some deep breaths!