Articles of Interest

5 Ways to Manage Financial Stress This Holiday Season

While the holiday season is supposed to be a joyful time, it can also be a financially stressful time. The cost of gifts, social gatherings, family meals, and plane tickets quickly add up. Worrying about money can negatively impact your mental and physical health, your relationships, and your overall quality of life. It can affect your sleep and self-esteem, exacerbate pain and mood swings, and result in unhealthy coping mechanisms such as drinking too much, abusing drugs, or gambling.

However, changing your spending habits during the holidays doesn’t have to be joyless. Having proactive conversations with friends and family, making a budget, and setting limits are just some of the ways you can manage your financial stress this holiday season. Read on for more ways you can enjoy this special time of year without going broke.

  1. Establish a realistic holiday spending budget. Unexpected expenses can add up quickly, especially around the holidays, if you don’t plan ahead. Make a budget so you can keep track of how much you want to spend and how you want to spend it. 
  1. Get comfortable with saying “no” to additional spending. Give yourself permission to say “no” to spending more money on gifts or parties than you planned. Prior to the holidays, be honest with loved ones about your holiday budget to help manage expectations. 
  1. Discuss low-cost ways to celebrate with friends and family. Talk with your loved ones about alternatives to gift-giving this year that take the pressure off everyone. Maybe you set a spending limit or skip the gift exchange all together. Instead of making your gift exchange the focus, introduce a new activity that could be enjoyed by all, enhancing your celebration and maybe starting a new tradition. 
  1. Make shopping lists to stay organized. A shopping list can help you stay on track when food shopping, party shopping, and gift shopping. It also helps you to stick to your budget. 
  1. Find your joy. When you are feeling stressed out, it’s easy to lose your holiday spirit. Find time to step back from the chaos and do something that brings you joy. This could be taking a walk, reading a good book, doing a crossword puzzle, or savoring a hot shower.

The bottom line is that the holidays can be a stressful time for many reasons. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the financial aspect of the season, and it’s ok to reach out for support. St. Luke’s Penn Foundation is here to help