While the holidays are a fun time to spend time with family and friends they can also be financially stressful. Gift exchanges, parties and traveling can all burn a hole in your checking account. Here are some tips to help reduce the financial stress and make your holiday more enjoyable.
Set a budget
Review your earnings and expenses and then map your December. Evaluate when you are going to need to spend money on specific items, parties and travel and be sure allocate your funds appropriately. Do you have a lot of people to buy gifts for? Designate a certain amount to spend on each person, so that you’re not tempted to go over. Make sure you shop around online to find the best deals on each item. My favorite for those that love to online shop – take advantage of Ebates (if you use this link to sign up, you’ll get an extra $10). This site pays you to online shop by giving you cash back from most retailers, each quarter they’ll send you a check!
Get creative with gifts
If you’re crafty, what better way to show your thoughtfulness then by making a gift. It will save you money and the stress of shopping. Pinterest has a ton of unique holiday gift ideas. If you’re lacking creativity you can always give the gift of your time. Offering a night out for parents while you baby-sit or cleaning someone’s home are gifts that people will enjoy.
Monitor your credit card spending
Putting all your holiday spending on credit cards is not a good plan. However, there are some credit cards that offer cash back rewards and savings. Look at your credit cards and see what offers they might have. Using credit cards during the holidays is fine as long as you don’t go overboard. Just make sure you don’t get yourself into more debt that you can pay back.
Entertain for less
Thinking of hosting a holiday party? Why not make it a pot luck? That way everyone contributes and you don’t have to stress over cooking, cleaning and decorating all day! It also gives other guests new recipe ideas.
Need a last-minute cookie recipe?
This won’t help you manage the financial stress of the holiday season, but it will certainly make it more enjoyable! This recipe is always a hit when I make it:
Chocolate Chip Cherry Oatmeal Cookies
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chip
In a small bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in cherries and chocolate chips.
Drop by scant 1/4 cupful’s 3 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 1 minute before removing from baking sheets to wire racks. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 15 cookies
Want to get crafty with this recipe? Put the ingredients in a mason jar and tie the recipe on a decorative card around the jar.
With these few tips you can take more time to enjoy the holidays and less on focusing on the financial aspect of it. Wishing you the best this holiday season!
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