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Posted: 19.05.13

5 Tips for Coping With Holiday Financial Stress

17.12.22 | Maple Crest
Money can't buy happiness, but it sure can buy a lot of gifts. So if you're running low on cash during the holidays and have a lot of family and friends to buy presents for, this can be a frustrating time of year. Here are seven strategies to help you improve your financial plan for the holidays.

1.Budget - Carefully budgeting for holiday gifts is an obvious strategy that will guide you in setting and sticking to planned spending for those you need to buy gifts for and will help stop impulse purchases for those you don’t need to buy for.

2. Avoid stressful shopping situations - Shopping during the holidays can be taxing even when you have money, observes Robert Epstein, a psychology professor at the University of the South Pacific and a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology. Shopping on a deadline can make anyone sweat and suggests you start shopping early to avoid overspending at the last minute and making panicked purchase decisions.

3. Remember what's really important - The best way to cope with this materialistic time of year is to not pay attention to the retail world and advertising which promotes rampant spending because it’s what you do during the holidays. That's easier said than done if you have kids, parents, siblings, cousins, and friends with high gift expectations. Let people know what you will be doing for the year to tamp down expectations and why.

4. Be creative with your gift-giving - If making, say, handmade soap and other crafts isn't an option due to your lack of creative skills, you could always give someone the gift of time. Plan to take them out for a day for golf /spa /dinner /movie/ concert etc. later in the year.

5. Don't blow things out of proportion - Yes, if you wanted to buy your children an iPad or Nintendo Wii, and they're going to have to settle for some board games and a Slinky, there's no way around it. The gifts kids will probably remember more than anything are the tacky socks from Grandma or a journal from their mother. So don’t go overboard with expensive gifts.

So, when it comes to holiday giving, focus on what you can do based on your budget not what you think you should do based on others expectations.