For many, the holiday season is a time for making memories, sharing joy, seeing friends and family and….STRESS. Holiday induced stress can ruin the holiday experience, and every year it seems that holiday stress grows. We stress about buying the right gift for people in our lives, juggling calendars and making time for everyone on our list in a short period of time, and most of all, we stress about the bills that come due after the holidays are over.
The holiday season often creates nostalgia, which can lead to impulse buys and spending beyond our means. This stress can make enjoying the holidays difficult, knowing there are large bills coming in the new year. By following these simple tips, you can help reduce financial stress and enjoy the holidays more this year.
- Save for holiday purchases
Saving money for the holidays is a great way to avoid the stress of overspending. When you put a little aside each month, you will know how much you will have to spend and when you start with a budget in mind, you’ll be less likely to overspend. At KEMBA, our members can save throughout the year and earn interest with a Christmas Club account. Using a credit card to purchase gifts can also be a great way to keep your expenses organized, earn points from your card issuer and in some cases save money, but having money in the bank to pay bills can keep your stress levels in check. Don’t forget to check your interest rate and think about how long it will take you to pay off the presents you buy; make sure you have a low-rate card that allows you to pay down your balances more quickly.
- Consider all holiday expenses
For some holiday revelers, gifts monopolize a large portion of their holiday budget. While gift giving is a large portion of the expenses, there are other things to consider. Expenses like gas, tips, meals, and pet boarding, to name a few, will add up. If you are working from a budget, make sure you factor these expenses into your overall budget for the season and avoid any surprises.
- Don’t get carried away with holiday cheer
We’ve all stood in the toy aisle shopping for a loved one, when we see a gift they will like —for an extra $30, a gift they will love. Emotional and impulse purchases are common around the holidays, but these unplanned purchases are the ones that can break your holiday bank. Staying within your budget and buying gifts that you can afford is a simple way to avoid overspending and relying on high credit card payments. Instead of purchasing the more expensive gift, talk to a relative or friend about partnering with you to buy the more expensive gift.
- Keep your emergency fund separate
Emergency expenses don’t take a break during the holidays. Most holiday movies are based on a holiday emergency with a storybook finish where everyone ends up happy. Unfortunately, you probably won’t have the same storybook experience when your furnace dies the week before Christmas. Make sure that you keep your holiday budget separate from your emergency savings so you can cover unexpected expenses, without dipping into your holiday funds or going into debt.
- Enjoy yourself
Don’t let stress ruin your holiday plans this year. By staying on track with your holiday purchases, you can avoid overspending, stick to your plans to pay off your credit card bills, and keep your stress in check, so you can focus on spending quality time family and friends.
To learn more about KEMBA’s Christmas Club or low-rate credit card that is great for holiday spending, stop into any one of 10 Central Ohio KEMBA locations. You can also contact a KEMBA Member Service Representative anytime at 800.282.6420, option 4.