How to Not Overwhelm Your Holiday Spending

financial Nov 28, 2023

 It’s not surprising that many of us find it challenging to prioritize healthy stress management during the holiday season. Overspending for holiday shopping can be a huge obstacle and stress contributor with the pressure to meet expectations, buy meaningful gifts, and all the various festive activities.  According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Healthy Minds Poll, Americans named affording holiday gifts (51%), finding, and securing holiday gifts (40%), or affording holiday meals (39%) as the top three factors causing them anxiety this season.

 Accumulating debt during the holidays can have long-term consequences, affecting financial stability well into the new year. This realization can add an additional layer of stress and the desire to create perfect holiday moments may lead to overspending to meet perceived expectations, causing stress when reality doesn't align with these ideals.

 

So, what can you do? Be intentional this year with how you are going to spend and align with your goals.

 

First, set a clear overall budget for holiday spending including gifts, decorations, travels, and festivities. Be realistic about what you can afford and stick to the budget to avoid financial strain.

 

Second, create a list of gift recipients and prioritize based on closeness and importance. Focus on meaningful and thoughtful gifts rather than the quantity of items. This helps in providing the gifts that mean more rather than just giving to give.

 

Third, explore alternatives like budget-friendly gift options such as DIY gifts, experiences, or shared activities. These can be just as meaningful without breaking the bank. Experiences can help open a world for everyone in your life. A few suggestions would be something like a Zoo Pass, Aquarium Pass, or Science Centers. Make it fun and an experience to remember or a DIY gift that means something to you. My favorite gift was the year I made sweatshirts for my whole family with their favorite characters.  

 

Take a shift in focus to experience the true essence of the holidays—connection, joy, and gratitude— alleviate the pressure to overspend. When you adopt intentional and mindful spending habits, you can create a more fulfilling and less stressful holiday experience.

It’s about the journey, not the destination

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