Our financial situation can cause stress any time of the year, but the holidays can be particularly challenging. Fortunately, with a little advanced planning there are options to turn that stress into joy. From setting a realistic holiday spending plan, to creative gift alternatives such as handmade items or shared experiences, you can enjoy the season with greater ease and minimize the stress often associated with overspending.
Here are five tips designed to give you less stress and more joy this holiday season:
Set a Holiday Spending Limit
During the holidays, it can be easy to let spending get out of control. Put a cap on your spending by creating a holiday budget or a spending plan. Be sure to factor in additional non-gift related expenses that can easily add up - things like holiday photos, decorations, food, and if your family gathering is cancelled, shipping of gifts to loved ones. GreenPath’s Holiday Budgeting Worksheet is a useful tool you can use to track all of your seasonal expenses in one place.
Avoid Putting Holiday Debt on Credit Cards
The number one tip of financial wellness? Avoid spending money you don’t have. While it’s easy to do, putting holiday spending on credit cards can be risky - especially if you don’t have the funds to pay it off when the bill comes due. According to a recent survey, Americans racked up an average of $1,325 in holiday debt. Of those surveyed, 75% said they wouldn’t be able to pay it off in January, with 15% saying they only intended to pay the minimum monthly payment. In case you’re wondering, that translates to over $600 in interest and 5 years of making payments— ouch!
Already Stuck with Holiday Debt? Here’s What You Can Do
If you've already found yourself paying off high-interest credit card debt, GreenPath debt management plan may be able to help you lower your interest rates and pay off debt faster. You can also try out this Credit and Debt Management Calculator to help gauge your total debt level and what steps might need to be taken to improve your situation.
Trade Pricey for Priceless
A great gift doesn’t have to be expensive. Think outside the box and treat your loved ones to a thoughtful gift that generates excitement without the price tag. Maybe that’s a handmade item, DIY project, a fun experience, a coupon book, or just the gift of your time.
Keep Your Personal Info Safe
The holiday season is a time when people are more vulnerable to identity theft scams. Not only are they making more purchases than at any other time of year, but they are often distracted when doing so. According a recent Experian study, as much as 43% of holiday shopping identity theft occurs online. As the current environment drives more people than ever to online shopping, it’s important to be aware of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft. If you do find yourself the victim of identity theft, here are some important steps to take.
Managing financial stress during the holiday season can be achieved with careful planning and mindful spending. Remember, the true essence of the holidays lies in the joy of giving and spending time with loved ones, not in the value of gifts exchanged. If you are caught up in the holiday frenzy, and you are stressed about overspending, the counselors at GreenPath can help.
*Logix has partnered with GreenPath Financial Wellness to give members access to additional financial wellness content, including this blog article. Views and opinions expressed in the financial wellness content are those of GreenPath and may not always represent the views and opinions of Logix Federal Credit Union. Logix Federal Credit Union is not affiliated with GreenPath, and is a separate entity.
Please contact Logix at (800) 328-5328 or visit www.lfcu.com if you have any questions about this topic or would like to consider opening an account.
Logix is Federally Insured by NCUA and is an Equal Housing Lender.