5 Way to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress
Don’t let a holiday cash-crunch stress you out. Use these tips from U.S. News to help you skate through the holiday season.
Check your credit score.
It may seem like an unlikely place to begin your holiday preparations, but it’s smart to check your financial pulse before wading into the stores where easy credit is readily available. Shoppers who are motivated to maintain or improve their score may find they are less likely to charge purchases or open new credit lines while holiday shopping.
Decide what kind of net to cast.
Create a game plan for holiday spending. Think about whether you want to go narrow and deep or wide and shallow with gifts. Narrow and deep means limiting the shopping list to only a few people and spending the majority of your budget on them. What you really want to avoid is wide and deep, that’s when people almost always overspend what they can afford.
Scope out purchases in advance.
Using online shopping carts is a great way to avoid impulse purchases. You can keep things in your basket and then step away to think about it. As a bonus, some retailers will email coupons to those who have left a full cart on the site, making a future purchase less expensive.
Have a plan for credit usage.
Many people may have a budget for the holidays but don’t have access to all that money upfront. You should put away money each week toward your holiday budget. If you won’t have all of the cash until the end of December, you may want to look at credit options, including credit cards, personal loans or other lines of credit. There’s nothing wrong with using credit cards during the holidays if you don’t go overboard and get yourself into more debt than you can afford to repay.
Scrap the store-bought gifts.
One of the best ways to avoid being financially stressed during the holidays is to skip expensive store-bought gifts altogether. This approach has benefits beyond simply saving money. You can make it fun and use it as a way to spend time with loved ones while making gifts.
The holidays are closing in fast, but there is still time to take these proactive steps to avoid finding yourself in a financially stressful situation. And then for next year, consider starting to plan even earlier.