Many people don’t plan ahead for the holidays. This means there can be added stress when it comes to budgeting.
Added financial stress isn’t something people wish for, however, according to a survey by Country Financial, Americans’ top wish is to be debt-free this holiday season.
We thought it might be helpful to know a few simple steps to budget and plan ahead in advance of the season…starting with asking yourself what your family can realistically afford this year, creating a goal and sticking to it.
Troy Frerichs, VP of Investment Services at Country Financial, said it’s important to know realistically what you can afford: If you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t buy it. Luckily, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on gifts for friends and family to show them that you care. There are plenty of ways to get creative with how you give this holiday season.
He noted that Americans can get creative with gift-giving to avoid breaking the bank this holiday season. Do this by organizing a Secret Santa or pick names out of a hat so you only need to buy one gift vs. multiple. He said you can also put together an assortment of smaller, personal items for each of your friends and family members and instead of spending a ton of money on a gift, make a moderate donation to a charitable cause the recipient is passionate about.
One last tip is to communicate your budget and plan with your spouse and larger family to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Be upfront and candid with your spouse: A recent study found that money issues are the leading cause of divorces for nearly a quarter of Americans. Therefore, it’s important that partners candidly talk to one another about their finances – especially during the holidays.
- Get on the same page: It’s easy for parents to disagree on the amount of money they should spend on their kids and other expenses like hosting and decorating. Make it a point to compromise on the things that matter to your partner while staying on budget.
- Don’t just talk about your budget; write it down: Whether you choose to use a journal or an elaborate excel spreadsheet, writing down your budget increases the chances that you will actually stick to it. It also makes you and your spouse more accountable.