Avoid Financial Stress
When it comes to stressful periods of the year, none is quite so intense as the holiday season that straddles the turn of the calendar from one year to the next. Not only are there parties and family meals to plan and attend, there are also Christmas presents to buy. The time to start preparing for the financial stress of the holidays is well before Christmas Eve. Budget plan tips tend to see a spike in the number of people who seek out their services during the months of January and February, which just happen to be the months that directly follow the holidays. The best way to deal with the stress of holiday finances is to start planning for them well before the holidays actually hit. Here are steps to take to avoid financial stress.
1. Set up A List Of Estimated Expenses
Christmas comes around on the exact same day every single year. It will be on December 25 this year. It will be on December 25 next year. It does not sneak up on people. Therefore, it’s a good idea to start planning for the date and the expenses that will be associated with it well ahead of time. There are some important questions that should be asked before setting up a budget for Christmas or Hanukkah. For example, you might ask how many presents are on the Christmas list? How much is the budget for each gift? The exact amount does not have to be the same for each present. Most people will probably want to spend more on their kids than they would their great aunt who has every knick knack that’s ever been created. Adding up the cumulative budgets should give you a good idea of how much money you’ll need to spend. Another expense that many people might not think about when it comes to the holidays is travel. If you live in the same town as the relatives that you’re intending to visit, the cost will be minimal. On the other hand, if you live 500 miles away from family, there will definitely be some costs associated with travel, be they fuel, airline tickets, meals or lodging expenses. These costs should be added to the gift expenses to come up with a finalized budget.
2. Save Some Money Each Pay Period
One of the best budget plan tips that can help you ensure that you’ve got the money available to pay for the holidays without going into debt is by saving a bit of money each time that a paycheck comes in. If your estimated expenses for Christmas or Hanukkah are $500, you’d need to put away $10 each week. If you’re able to do this every week and you can stay within the budget you’ve set, there will be no need to go into credit card debt to pay for presents and travel. For every $50 that you expect to spend, you should save $1 every week. This even allows for two extra weeks with no savings. If you wind up saving for those weeks anyway, you’ll be ahead for the next year, or the extra money can just go into a savings account.
3. Look for Additional Money
If there is no money to be had within your current budget even after cutting other expenses, there will be a need for additional income. This can come from a raise at work or from another job although there are also other options that can help that do not require slogging off to an office or fast food restaurant. If you can get another part-time job, it should be possible to make $100 per week if not more. Delivering food for customers of local restaurants, working at a grocery store or the local big box store, and helping out at a store at the local mall could all be options for making extra money. If you’re not looking to leave home, there are also several other options that people can use to earn a few bucks online in their spare time.
Planning for holiday expenses is the best way to avoid financial stress and debt. Every dollar that goes toward interest is a dollar that cannot be used for Christmas presents or other important expenses that your family might need to make. Setting up a budget and saving from current earnings or finding additional options for earning more money can all go a long way toward helping you truly enjoy hanging out with family and friends during the holiday season. The less stressful your holiday season, the more relaxing the time should be.