5 Ways to Curb Stress around Holiday Spending

The holiday season can begin to get overwhelmingly expensive if you don’t build a strategy to prepare for it. This is especially true when you are on a strict budget or a fixed income. Is it possible to meet your commitments and still have a bit left over to treat yourself over the holidays? Here are a few tactics that may help you survive the stress related to holiday spending.

Consider using layaway

When you have a number of children but are on a fixed income, layaway can be one of the best methods to still buy them each a few special items while staying within your budget. Talk to your local department or toy store to see what the layaway terms are and how long you have to pay for your items. Then budget to include this expense in your weekly, bi-weekly or monthly expenses and be assured that your children will still get their hearts’ desires without breaking the bank. This is also true for larger gifts for loved ones that you otherwise may be unable to afford. Don’t forget that some items go quickly just before the holidays, and it is devastating to not be able to find that special gift at the last moment.

Make a budget and stick to it

Set aside a particular amount for each person on your gift-giving list. When you are asked to participate in other events at work or with friends, see if you have the money left after bills, groceries and other expenses to do this. If you can’t, simply say you would love to do it but simply can’t swing it. Nothing contributes more to holiday stress than going beyond your means to try please everyone you know. Try to curb impulse buying by using cash instead of credit cards when shopping to limit your expenses.

Plan ahead

Often when you wait for the last minute to make your holiday purchases, you miss out on sales that go on during the year. Make a list of special things to buy for each person on your shopping list in January and watch for sales or clip some coupons to help you with the expenses. It’s amazing what you can find throughout the year at bargain prices!

Suggest gift-giving alternatives

If you  find it’s too difficult to buy something for every member of your family, ask them if they would consider “family gifts” or drawing names instead of giving individual gifts to be appropriate. Perhaps they would appreciate a modest gift to their favorite charity? Chances are everyone will breathe a sigh of relief, especially if one member of the family has a lot of children.

Make gifts for others

There is nothing more heartwarming than receiving a homemade gift. Whether it’s a box of cookies, brownies or fudge, a pie or cake, jam or jelly, an old family recipe, dog biscuits for furry members of the clan or a hand-crafted item, everyone knows it’s a gift straight from your heart to their hands.