4 Tips for Managing Financial Stress During the Holidays

Steps to keep your financial accounts intact and focus on the spirit of the holiday season.

Dec 20, 2013

The holidays can be a wonderful time to catch up with old friends and reconnect with family you don’t see during the year. However, many Americans also consider the holiday months to be the most stressful time of the year, especially when it comes to their finances. Many people do their end-of-year financial planning in December, and try to get ready for tax season, both of which may make them more aware of their financial accomplishments and pitfalls during the year.

With the increased spending that typically happens during the last month of the year coupled with holiday obligations, friends and family, stress can easily set in and make this time less enjoyable. The good news is there are several steps you can take to lower your stress levels, keep your financial accounts intact and focus on the spirit of the holiday season.

1. Stick to a Plan

Utilizing a budgeting tool, making gift lists and seeking out sales and discounts can help you keep your spending under control and avoid the financial anxiety that comes with overspending. Careful planning and disciplined spending can ensure you have time to comparison shop, utilize holiday discounts and cover every person on your list. It can also help you avoid last-minute shopping, which can be particularly stressful.

2. Avoid Stressful Situations

If being in crowds and traffic is unsettling to you, plan out your shopping accordingly to avoid these situations. For instance, online shopping can be a great alternative to hitting up the stores, and many retailers have free shipping deals. You might also consider shopping on your lunch break, waiting until later in the evening or going first thing in the morning to avoid crowds. 

3. Talk to Friends and Family

One of the most stressful aspects of the holidays is trying to keep up with everyone else when it comes to giving great gifts or trying to keep up with obligations. Rather than engaging in this type of thinking, talk with a spouse, relative or friend about the stress this is causing. Simply venting about your anxiety can go a long way, as can explaining to loved ones that you plan to keep it low-key this holiday. Many people may be feeling the same type of stress to keep up with everyone else, and voicing your anxiety may prompt others to come forward as well.

4. Make Yourself Happy

As with any type of stress, doing things that make you happy can alleviate poor feelings. Eating right, staying in shape and engaging in a hobby can keep you balanced and relaxed.

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