For many people, this time of year is a time of joy and thanksgiving. For others, the holidays are a source of stress. Everyone may suffer the stress of what picture should be on the Christmas card or how many people are coming for holiday dinner. However, for many families, the stress of the holidays is much more. How can we afford to give my child the present on their list to Santa? How can we afford to buy enough food for our holiday meal? The pressures we place on making the holidays special create an incredible amount of strain not just on your wallet but your emotions too.
If you are struggling financially, you need to sit down and create a realistic list of what you can and cannot afford to do to make the holidays special. One technique is to put the money you can set aside for gifts in an envelope and take that envelope with you for your holiday shopping. This keeps you from overspending and making impulse purchases. Children are pretty perceptive and are often aware that something is not right at home. Let your kids know “Santa” may only be able to bring one gift on their long Christmas wish list.
Rather than spend money on things, make the decision to spend time with your family. Look for free activities in your community to go and enjoy together. The holiday parades, musical concerts and other events are most often open to the public and are fun for the whole family to experience.
The start of the New Year is a good time to sit down and really get a grasp of your financial health. The burden of financial stress takes its toll on relationships, family and your health. Although no one thinks of filing bankruptcy as a great way to start the New Year, getting a financial fresh start can be the first step towards a less stressful life.