By Susan Powell
I love and look forward
to the holiday season as much as the next person, but I'll be first to admit
that as much as this is true, I simultaneously feel a great sense of anxiety
when the festive season approaches. I look forward to quality time
with family and friends but money is stressful every other month of the
year and it's intensified during the holidays.
Christmas parties, gifts
and great times lend well to holiday excitement and sadly, great expense. I
want so badly to be wholly excited, yet I find myself dreading the obsessive
calculations from the frenzied activity in my checkbook, more activity
than my checkbook sees all year.
Fortunately for those of us who
experience a nagging anxiety tugging at our heart and purse strings, there
are ways to relieve these feelings to make the holidays feel almost as joyous
as you remember before you had the burden of paying for them.
this holiday season by getting organized: Maintain a week by week calendar of
upcoming events for you and your family during this holiday season. This will
help you visualize where you need to be and what you need for each upcoming
week. Organization will guide you through the holidays by keeping
you focused and will allow you to maximize your money, time and resources.
This will further help you avoid last minute panics!
Create a spending
strategy: If you're concerned about gift giving and don't want to make a dent
in your savings or rely on plastic to foot the bill for Santa, discuss your
feelings with your spouse, family or significant other. Don't be afraid of
money stress. You're not alone. Create a strategy to survive the expense
of the holiday season. If discussing the issue with children, help them
understand that in the real world some years are financially better than
others. Money is tight for millions of Americans and if you spend frugally
through the holiday season, you may be able to do something special later in
the year when money is more certain.
Paper or plastic? Create a pay
plan: I once wholeheartedly believed "charging it" allowed me to preserve my
cash for a later date. Remember, if you charge it, you're only delaying when
and how much extra you'll pay for purchases. Determine in advance how much
you can afford to spend this year and how you want to pay for it. You'll feel
much better when the holiday season is over that you're not still paying for
Shop early. Shop sales: If you wait until the last minute to
do your holiday shopping, you risk missing current sales and overspending
on unnecessary purchases, often the result of feeling guilty about
procrastinating. Take advantage of sales everywhere to get the most for your
dollar and don't forget stores that regularly carry discounted merchandise.
One of my favorites is Tuesday Morning. This store typically carries
a little of everything and the prices are significantly lower than major
Get creative when gift giving: Gift giving shouldn't
cost a fortune. The most valuable gifts sometimes come in the
smallest package. People often do without little things they
desire because they don't want to spend money on themselves. This is where
you come in. Get creative!
Take inventory: Take time to determine what
you have and need to prepare for the holiday season. To survive the cooking
and baking that go hand in hand with the holidays, make a list of
what's needed. Use your list when grocery shopping to avoid
overspending and use coupons to save money.
Follow these simple steps
to prepare for the holiday season: Get organized, create an spending strategy
and a "pay" plan, shop early and take advantage of sales, get creative when
gift-giving and do an inventory of what you need to make it through the
often hectic holidays. Being prepared ensures less stress and a happier
10 Creative Ways to Give from the Heart, Not the Pocketbook
Meaningful gift giving doesnít have to be expensive. In fact, some of the
most precious gifts are the ones that cost very little, but mean a great deal
because of the time and effort the giver took in giving the gift.
Letís Do Something Different For the Holidays This Year!
Each year, for too many of us, the holiday season just doesnít live up to our expectations. Instead of joy, it brings stress; instead of peace, it brings tension; instead of love, it brings animosity. This holiday, letís do something different.
Christmas IS Celebration!
Faith, hope and love cannot be bought or sold but only given
away. These are the wellsprings deep of Christmas celebration.