Money-Saving Do’s and Don’ts For A Happier Marriage and Christmas
A recent USA Today article states, “Americans are turning more cautious ahead of the holiday shopping season as they grapple with high prices, dwindling savings and rising debt. Although shoppers are still spending, they’re focused more on essentials and making fewer discretionary purchases, according to Circana, a firm that researches consumer behavior.”
Money problems are a common cause of marriage conflict, so why make things worse by overspending during the holidays?
Making bad money decisions during the holidays can cause severe repercussions at the beginning of the new year.
Holiday spending involves more than buying gifts; many small or unplanned purchases add up fast. Things like-
Decorations or seasonal decor
Groceries for special meals and treats
And, last but not least, gifts (along with paper, tape, and bows)
One’s bank account can bleed money at Christmas more than any other time of the year, which isn’t so bad if you’ve planned ahead and have been budgeting. Otherwise, overspending can deplete savings or pile up debt you’ll pay off the rest of the year.
With each purchase, stress mounts, potentially causing marital stress, and what should be a fun time of year starts to feel overwhelming.
Here’s the good news: You do not have to overspend or go into debt to make the holidays special. Consider these do’s and don’ts to stay financially healthy during the holidays.
DO- Create a holiday budget BEFORE the holidays Begin
You’ll have more money to spend on the holidays in some years than others. In some years, there is plenty to go around, while in others, you have to be more frugal.
Make a budget before the holidays based on your current financial situation. Stick to your budget to control spending. Although you might not like it at the time, you’ll be glad you did later on.
DO- Explore fun ways to make extra cash
Who says you can’t earn a little extra money for gifts and expenses? Can you host a yard sale or find a side hustle for extra money? Finding creative ways to earn more helps cover your extra costs during the holiday season. Enlist the family and encourage them to make some extra cash to buy gifts or personal items during the season.
DO- Decide on must-haves before spending
There are so many ways to spend during the holidays. The holidays are bright and shiny, if they’re anything, leading to one impulse buying decision after another, not to mention the sales that lure you in. Decide what matters most to you during the season to give your time, money, and attention; leave the rest for someone else to enjoy.
DON’T- Worry about what others do
Please don’t worry about what your neighbors are doing or try to keep up with them. Focus on your family and what makes sense for your unique needs and wants.
Don’t- Forget the benefits of doing it now
Procrastination is a major cause of overspending, especially if you plan to ship your gifts, which can be very expensive at the last minute. Do your food shopping while supplies last, and get your errands out of the way while you have time. The sooner you take care of things, the cheaper, easier, and more relaxed you’ll be. An example might be purchasing your non-perishable food items for all holiday meals in one trip to the market. Get the task out of the way and free up time for other demands that are likely to pop up later on.
DON’T- Allow guilt to make you overspend
It’s hard to say no when you want to say yes, especially if someone really wishes for something special. Financially, giving everyone what they want might not be possible without going into debt, which you will struggle for many months to pay. Ultimately, the decision is yours, but please don’t let guilt drive you. Set healthy limits that keep your finances under control; don’t feel guilty for being smart with your money. (Just remember, there’s a difference between being smart and frugal versus cheap and selfish.)
Overspending during the holidays strains your budget, creates potentially crushing debt, and triggers marital conflict. Don’t let the holidays cost you your peace, joy, or sanity. Control your spending as best you can to enjoy a happy and financially healthy holiday season.