We have all experienced that lull after the festive season; all that joy from gift giving, over-indulging, and that familiar ‘you-only-live-once’ spontaneity, which is soon forgotten in the harsh light of January’s credit card statement. Sometimes even knowing that the holidays are on their way can cause mental anguish for those who are not in the best positions financially. How do we protect ourselves after the merriment concludes, both financially and emotionally?
According to a poll conducted last year by leading analytics website gallup.com, Americans were planning to spend an
average of $830 on gifts alone. This doesn’t include extras, such as travel, food, and beverages. From a psychological point of view, it is believed that this can affect us in really damaging ways. The stress of the holidays can trigger sadness, anxiety, and depression for many people.
5 Ways To Save During The Holiday Season
Although we are already at the far end of the holiday season, here are some methods that experts recommend to help us enjoy the giving season while avoiding that spending hangover.
1. Shop Early
You can get extremely low prices on holiday items in the days and weeks that follow Christmas. Stores have no use for their Christmas stock once the season has come and gone, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get that stock off their shelves and out of their stores in order to make way for the next sales event. Items have been seen as low as 80%-90% off the original price. While this might not be for everyone, imagine the stress relief if you started planning for Christmas in January?
2. Use A Dedicated Savings Account
Begin a savings account now. Set aside a monthly amount that you can afford. Saving as little as $50 a month, will add up to $600 for spending over the holidays. That is only $230 less than many of us plan on spending.
In addition, you can sell unwanted things on websites like Letgo and eBay and add the money earned to your holiday savings. Doing this also allows you to de-clutter, and earn a passive income.
3. Do Not Buy Things That You Cannot Afford
Shame prevents us from being honest about our financial status. If there is something that someone wants that is outside of your budget then, instead of struggling to buy it, be honest. Express that you care, and would like to be able to buy, but you cannot afford it at this time. That intimate moment will relieve your stress. Expressing what you cannot afford, will let others know that you care, regardless of how much is in your account.
4. Leave Your Credit Cards At Home
Eddy Elfenbein, the author of the Crossing Wall Street financial blog, states that something happens when you use your hard cash to pay for things. When you hand over something you can touch, you suddenly hold yourself accountable. If you allow yourself $500 to spend on presents, you have a better understanding of how your money stretches. Once it is spent, it’s spent, and there is no risk of ever going over your spending limit. Doing this also helps you to not continuously swipe and not know how much money you are actually spending.
5. Re-Gift Or Make Your Own Presents
We can all agree that we live in a world that is very much driven towards having “things”. We are living in a time of great excess. We are also striving towards an existence that is greener and more environmentally conscious. What better way to save during the holidays, and do a bit for our environment than by re-gifting those things that you no longer need. We can also make presents, which is a far more personalized experience than anything you can buy in a store.
The best gift you can give yourself during the holiday season is financial and emotional well-being.