In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in spending and gift giving that ends up leaving you, and your finances, drained. This can be especially true this year, when nothing went as we expected.
Research shows that time with loved ones (even virtually) is one of the best ways to combat stress and boost your happiness. And who doesn’t want to be happier? Spending time with people you enjoy is one of the few things in life that can cost very little, but reward you greatly. If you have a day off or even a few hours, it’s a good opportunity to disconnect from the stresses of your daily routines and reconnect with family and friends.
What can we do without spending a ton?
Strengthen your relationships as well as create a memory that lasts a lot longer than a store bought gift. When making plans with family and friends this year, think of ways to create memorable experiences without going into debt:
- play board games or pay games online with family and friends who are far away
- volunteer to deliver meals for an organization or just share meals with neighbors
- host a virtual talent show
- go for a hike or walk in the park
- help an elderly neighbor with chores
- do that home project you’ve been procrastinating on together
- learn a dance from TikTok
- make popcorn and stream a movie
- trade family recipes
- sing karaoke for free on YouTube
But what if I still want to buy gifts?
If you’re still planning to do a little last minute shopping, here are a few things to keep in mind that will keep financial stress (and credit card bills) from intruding on your holidays.
- Be like Santa — make a list of specific people and check it twice
- Stick to your list and make a budget for the whole list
- Ask what they want — it’s better to get something they’ll use
- Avoid opening any new credit cards just for a little savings — it will cost you more later
- Shop smart and watch for the sales!
- Don’t go big and bulky — they cost more to transport and wrap both for you and your recipient
- Don’t wait until the last minute to ship! Prices go up closer to the holidays
Whatever your plans, be sure to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends. If you need some help balancing your finances to make the holidays fun, just login to BrightDime and chat with a coach. Happy holidays!