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According to Andy Williams, the holidays are supposedly “the most wonderful time of the year, with kids jingle belling and everyone telling you to be of good cheer.” And it is supposed to be “the happiest season of all, with parties for hosting and marshmallows for toasting and carolling out in the snow.” But is it really?
Research shows that people suffer more accidents and stress during December and the holiday season compared to any other time of the year. From burns from roasting chestnuts and oil from the turkeys, to trips to the A&E for the extra adventurous young people, to homemakers feeling overwhelmed with all the preparations and the cooking, indeed the holidays now seem to give off more of the festive fear than the cheer. And speaking of fears, everyone knows the trouble of maxed out credits and the excessive spending and shopping sprees and the dread and regret that comes with the bills.
Everyone has different shopping habits; there are people who have done their Christmas shopping before the end of September, and there are those that we see frantically going through the store aisles, speed walking to the malls just before it closes on Christmas Eve.
National Retail Federation conducted a survey that showed most people spend a total of $1,000 dollars on holiday spending alone!
Getting those holiday debts surely won’t make the season merry, but many go through the cycle of falling into debt because of overspending on the holidays and not being able to pay for it before it accrues interest.
So how do we curb out the overspending, while not becoming the dreaded Scrooge or Grinch? Well, here are some tips:
Budget, budget, budget
Before anything else, set up a budget on how much you plan to spend for the holidays and work on it. Prepare the budget in advance, months before December.
So you can save up for it months ahead avoid the stress of where to get the fund when December rolls in. Make sure that your budget is realistic and attainable, so it will be easier to stick to.
You can break it down to categories and assign amounts for each person or expense, that way it can be easier to check off.
Watch out for deals
As said above, once a budget is set, it is now easier to watch out for deals for the items on your list. This is a great way to keep an eye for deals on the items you have on the list, and be able to save some money from the deal.
Also, the best deals may not always be on days that you expect it. So try to keep track of the prices. There are apps available that can help with this. Find the one that can help you the most. Discount tool Honey is a great option that automatically searches for the best online deals.
Coupons can also help you save from $10 up to $100, if you just find the right one. Check out from coupons you receive from the mail if there are those available for the items on your list, and compare it with prices from different shops to get the best deal for your item. Keep your eyes peeled for those coupons, and stretch out the budget more in doing so.
Make a list, check it twice
Maybe Santa’s got that one figured out, since we never heard of him running on debt for his spending. For us mere mortals, it means checking your gift list twice to see if you need to cut it down to make it fit your budget. Also, think about the appropriate present for each person on your list and make sure their gifts fit your budget. Remember that gift giving is not about upping one another on who gives the fanciest and more expensive gifts.
While there is no need to become the Grinch and steal Christmas from everyone, simplifying Christmas is the best way to save up financially for the holidays. Take the time to pause in the busy-ness of the season and evaluate what you value the most for yourself and for your family.
Parents usually don’t need extravagant gifts, usually they just want their children to come visit and spend time with them. Kids don’t need the latest and greatest toys (though most of the time, they feel like they do.. That’s peer pressure, everyone.), what they need most are memories of happy and fun times with Mom and Dad. Dinners need not be elaborate and expensive. Laughter, meaningful conversations, and warm food are enough to make any dinner table more happy. The holidays need not be all about the rush, and the frantic schedules, and the mad dashing around parties and celebrations. Christmas is more about relationships, and keeping it alive by spending time and not money on each other.
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Sarah Jacobs is an experienced writer who loves creating articles that can benefit others. She has worked as a freelance writer in the past making informative articles and fascinating stories. She has extensive knowledge in a variety of fields such as technology, business, finance, marketing, personal development, and more.
Check out her company here: Giftninjas.co