Tips for Reducing Financial Stress During the Holiday Season.

Family Time Illustration Kearney Group
16 November 2023 Read time: 3 min

Tis (almost) the holiday season. The season of joy, good times and let’s face it, collective overspending. For many of us, financial stress really steals the sparkle of the season. So we’ve pulled together our top tips for navigating the holidays without breaking the bank.

Ways to reduce financial stress during the holiday season.


Create a Budget.


The first step in managing your money during the holidays is to create a realistic budget. Figure out what cash you’ve got coming in and divvy it up for gifts, decorations, travel, and all the other festive stuff. Give yourself the gift of peace of mind. Stick to your budget to avoid overspending and say goodbye to dreading the arrival of January’s credit card statements.


Start Early.


Avoid the last-minute rush by starting any holiday preparations early. Plan purchases, take advantage of sales, and spread out your expenses over several weeks or months. Starting early allows you to make more thoughtful decisions and avoid ‘panic purchases’ as the holidays approach.


Pick Your Priorities.


Identify the most important traditions for you and your family. Whether it’s a special meal, meaningful gifts, or quality time together, prioritise your spending based on your values. This can help you focus your resources on what truly matters and avoid unnecessary expenses.


Consider New Traditions.


Not to get all Scrooge on you, but the Buy Nothing Christmas movement is gaining traction. It can be incredibly powerful to rethink long-held gift-giving and holiday meal traditions. The impact of holiday excess is so significant that increasingly, many people are opting out altogether. Who knows – striking ‘last-minute panic shopping’ off your to-do list might just be the perfect gift for you, your wallet and the planet.


Get Crafty with Gifts.


If gift-giving is still part of your tradition, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Get crafty with homemade presents, bake up a storm, consider charitable donations instead of material things, or just give the gift of time or experiences. Meaningful beats expensive every time.


Set Realistic Expectations.


Manage the expectations of yourself and others by setting realistic boundaries. Communicate openly with friends and family about financial constraints and agree on budget-friendly gift exchanges or activities. By understanding and respecting each other’s limitations, we alleviate the pressure to overspend.


Hunt Down Discounts and Rewards.


Look for discounts or coupons, and use your loyalty rewards when shopping for holiday essentials. Many retailers offer promotions during the holiday season, and using cashback or rewards programs can help offset costs. Comparison shopping and exploring online deals can also save you money.


Party on a Budget.


Forget extravagant outings and costly vacations. There are heaps of affordable and fun things you can do over the holidays. Potluck dinners, game nights, or checking out free local events can be just as enjoyable. There’s no need to spend a bomb. After all, it’s the memories that last, long after the holidays are over.


Emergency Fund to the Rescue.


If you can swing it, set up a small emergency fund just for unexpected holiday surprises. This fund can offer a safety net and takes the edge off any unforeseen costs that may arise during the festive season. Knowing you have a little buffer in place is a great way to reduce financial stress during the holiday season, whether or not you use it.


Ditch your New Year’s resolutions.


Let’s be real – New Year’s Resolutions rarely stick. So, instead of setting goals that ghost you by February, consider these money musings instead. Who knows? Maybe new years’ ‘intention-setting’ and these finance reflections will help you reframe your relationship with money well beyond 2024.


Cheers to stress-free celebrations.


In a nutshell, don’t let money stress be the Grinch that steals your holiday cheer. With a bit of thought and planning, you can sleigh the season without breaking the bank.

So let’s say goodbye to financial stress and get back to focusing on the true spirit of the season: friendship, family and good times.

Cheers to stress-free celebrations!

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