How to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress: 5 Simple Tips





How to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress: 5 Simple Tips Do you deal with holiday stress? Do you worry about saving money or have anxiety about going into debt when Christmas time rolls around? Do you rack up bills on your credit card from buying the perfect presents? It’s time to take charge, friend. Follow these 5 simple tips to take control of your finances, practice frugal living, stick to a budget, and still enjoy everything the season has to offer. Let’s to this! #finances #stress #holiday #ChristmasI read an astonishing statistic the other day. A recent poll revealed that 85% of Americans “sometimes” feel stressed about money and 30% are “constantly” stressed about their financial situation.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I know I fall into that 85% category, and especially when the holiday season rolls around. With gift giving, parties, big dinners, and travel, holiday costs can add up quickly.

In my recent post about reducing holiday stress, I learned I’m not alone. It seems that finances are one of the biggest holiday stressors for many of you wonderful readers.

In fact, I heard from so many of you that I decided to dig deeper into this stumbling block and offer my five favorite tips to reduce holiday financial stress this season.

Are you ready? Let’s do this!

How to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress: 5 Simple Tips Do you deal with holiday stress? Do you worry about saving money or have anxiety about going into debt when Christmas time rolls around? Do you rack up bills on your credit card from buying the perfect presents? It’s time to take charge, friend. Follow these 5 simple tips to take control of your finances, practice frugal living, stick to a budget, and still enjoy everything the season has to offer. Let’s to this! #finances #stress #holiday #ChristmasHow to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress: 5 Simple Tips

1. Set a budget

Yes, this is an obvious suggestion, but it is also one that’s often overlooked. Many of us feel pressured to find the best gifts, host the fanciest parties, and “go all out” when it comes to the holiday season.

If you’re looking to reduce your holiday financial stress, however, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to set a budget. Review your current financial situation, consider your regular expenses, and decide how much you’re willing to spend on gifts, entertainment, food, etc.

I recommend breaking down your expenses into categories and assigning each one a specific dollar amount. If you’re really feeling ambitious, withdraw that specific amount of cash for each category; when it’s gone, it’s gone.

How to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress: 5 Simple Tips Do you deal with holiday stress? Do you worry about saving money or have anxiety about going into debt when Christmas time rolls around? Do you rack up bills on your credit card from buying the perfect presents? It’s time to take charge, friend. Follow these 5 simple tips to take control of your finances, practice frugal living, stick to a budget, and still enjoy everything the season has to offer. Let’s to this! #finances #stress #holiday #Christmas

2. Talk with your family

While money may feel like an uncomfortable topic of discussion, it doesn’t have to be that way. Talk openly with your close friends and family (those with whom you usually exchange gifts) and let them know you’re following a budget this season.

By setting expectations early on – for both you and your family – you reduce the stress of worrying about whether you’re spending “enough.” Instead, you can focus on what’s really important: time with those you love.

How to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress: 5 Simple Tips Do you deal with holiday stress? Do you worry about saving money or have anxiety about going into debt when Christmas time rolls around? Do you rack up bills on your credit card from buying the perfect presents? It’s time to take charge, friend. Follow these 5 simple tips to take control of your finances, practice frugal living, stick to a budget, and still enjoy everything the season has to offer. Let’s to this! #finances #stress #holiday #Christmas

3. Choose affordable (or free!) holiday activities

Though advertisements may suggest otherwise, remind yourself that spending time with those we love doesn’t have to be expensive.

Yes, there are MANY wonderful holiday shows and experiences that cost a pretty penny, but there are also some incredible activities that you and your loved ones can enjoy for free.

In fact, my most favorite childhood memories during the holiday season were driving around looking at Christmas lights and sledding down the giant hill in my backyard. With the latter activity, I’d sled down that hill all day long and when it got dark, I’d head inside and warm up with a big cup of hot cocoa. (We’d always have the Swiss Miss packs with the mini marshmallows in them; seriously, it was the best.)

Admittedly, dehydrated marshmallows might not be at the top of your holiday activities list (to each their own😉) Nevertheless, I think you get the idea. Spend some time brainstorming affordable activities that you and your family love to do, and then schedule a time to do them. It’s as simple as that.

How to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress: 5 Simple Tips Do you deal with holiday stress? Do you worry about saving money or have anxiety about going into debt when Christmas time rolls around? Do you rack up bills on your credit card from buying the perfect presents? It’s time to take charge, friend. Follow these 5 simple tips to take control of your finances, practice frugal living, stick to a budget, and still enjoy everything the season has to offer. Let’s to this! #finances #stress #holiday #Christmas

Feeling stumped? Here are 10 fun (and free) holiday activities to do with your loved ones:

  1. Go sledding
  2. Look at holiday lights (create your own holiday lights tour!)
  3. Volunteer
  4. Bake cookies
  5. Have a holiday movie marathon
  6. Go caroling
  7. Make gingerbread houses
  8. Attend a holiday school performance
  9. Make holiday cards and send them to soldiers overseas
  10. Read your favorite holiday books

How to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress: 5 Simple Tips Do you deal with holiday stress? Do you worry about saving money or have anxiety about going into debt when Christmas time rolls around? Do you rack up bills on your credit card from buying the perfect presents? It’s time to take charge, friend. Follow these 5 simple tips to take control of your finances, practice frugal living, stick to a budget, and still enjoy everything the season has to offer. Let’s to this! #finances #stress #holiday #Christmas

4. Cut back in other areas

It’s especially helpful during the holiday season to be mindful of where you’re spending extra money. Are there any non-essentials on which you can cut back?

During the holiday season, I try to keep dining out, shopping, and extra entertainment to a minimum. Do I stop completely? No. But I am more conscious of where my money is going. It helps me keep my spending in check and reduce unnecessary financial stress.

For example, if you make coffee at home throughout November and December, rather than buying a $5 latte before work each morning, that’s $200 you can put toward your holiday expenses. What a simple shift!

Need more ways to save money? You got it.

Look into carpooling to work; this would save on gas money and help the environment! Double win!

You might lower the thermostat; according to Energy Saver, you can save anywhere between 5%-15% on your energy bill by turning down the temperature a few degrees when you’re away from home or snuggled in bed.

By finding extra ways to save your pennies throughout the holiday season, you help relieve the pressure of the extra money going toward gifts, travel, entertaining, etc.

How to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress: 5 Simple Tips Do you deal with holiday stress? Do you worry about saving money or have anxiety about going into debt when Christmas time rolls around? Do you rack up bills on your credit card from buying the perfect presents? It’s time to take charge, friend. Follow these 5 simple tips to take control of your finances, practice frugal living, stick to a budget, and still enjoy everything the season has to offer. Let’s to this! #finances #stress #holiday #Christmas

5. Shop Smart

You’ve set a budget, you’ve established expectations with your friends and family, and you’ve identified fun and affordable holiday activities. Now it’s time to shop smart!

I am an online shopper through and through, and when the busy holiday season begins, I love it even more. You simply can’t beat its ease and convenience. Plus, now that so many local shops have an online presence, it’s easy to support small businesses, too!

If you’re a fellow online shopper, then I have great news for you. There are so many incredible resources out there to help you get the most “bang for your buck.” Here are some of my favorites to help reduce holiday financial stress when shopping online.

Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates)

One of my all-time favorite money-saving websites is Rakuten. I’ve been using it for years, and it’s SO SIMPLE.

All you need to do is create an account, shop at your favorite online stores, and you earn a small percentage back on all of your orders. That’s it! Seriously; it’s like free money!

You’re paid quarterly by check or deposit. I have mine sent directly to my PayPal account.

Do you deal with holiday stress? Do you worry about saving money or have anxiety about going into debt when Christmas time rolls around? Do you rack up bills on your credit card from buying the perfect presents? It’s time to take charge, friend. Follow these 5 simple tips to take control of your finances, practice frugal living, stick to a budget, and still enjoy everything the season has to offer. Let’s to this! #finances #stress #holiday #Christmas

As you can see in the image above, I haven’t done much shopping this past quarter. Nevertheless, I’ll still be getting almost $20 deposited in November for shopping at my favorite stores. Yes, please!

Want to give Rakuten a try for yourself? Great! You can sign up for free here! 

Grocery Apps

There are also some great grocery apps available out there. My favorite is Ibotta, which allows you to take a photo of your receipt, upload it to the app, and receive cash back on different purchases. So awesome and so easy! 


There you have it, friends! My 5 favorite ways to reduce financial holiday stress. As a quick recap:

  1. Create (and FOLLOW) a budget
  2. Set expectations with family and friends
  3. Choose affordable holiday activities
  4. Cut back on non-essential spending
  5. Shop smart

Question:

What are your favorite ways to reduce financial holiday stress? Share your tips below!

65 thoughts on “How to Avoid Holiday Financial Stress: 5 Simple Tips”

  1. These are such great tips, Paula! I love Ebates and have saved so much money using it too. My favorite tips for eliminating holiday stress are planning ahead, shopping online to avoid the crowds and focusing on people not things. Thanks!

  2. Talking to your family should be easy but isn’t always. I think that is a great tip vs trying to keep up with others and cutting out essentials in your own life.

  3. 21flavorsofsplendor

    Great tips! I cannot do anything without a budget. To keep costs down for us, we only buy gifts for our girls and our nieces and nephew. And only on occasion, do my husband and I buy gifts for each other.

  4. HeAll of these are great tips. Another tip to add to the list for family get togethers: do a secret Santa among the adults and keep to one small gift for the kids.

  5. One fun way to reduce some holiday money things is having a gift wrapping party, where everyone comes and brings a roll of paper or two or maybe gift bags from previous years that they can share. It won’t maybe save a whole lot but it would be fun!

  6. I love all these tips! I always set a budget, make a list and start my Christmas shopping in August. I was a go-shopping-at-the-last-minute girl and it would be so stressful. Planning makes a huge difference. Plus this time of year should be happy. And your list of holiday activities is great. I’ve done a few, but I’m going to try some new ones this year!

  7. These are such great suggestions. With 4 kids and a huge extended family, it’s easy to get off track with holiday spending. I’m committed to staying stress free and on budget this year. 😀

  8. we end up spending alot of money in the late november/early dec time period. i just read a blogger who saves her ibotta rebates all year and then only cashes out in december to use that money for holidays (she had earned like $1000) so it was substantial. One thing I do is save gift cards my kids are given throughout the year to buy them holiday gifts

  9. Pingback: How to reduce holiday stress | The Mindful Mom Blographer

  10. Emily Michelle Fata

    One way I avoid financial stress is by doing my Christmas shopping throughout the year, buying things on sale! I always have a big stash fo things for everyone (my Christmas shopping is actually all done, already!)

  11. These are some really great tips, thanks! My husband and I also like to DIY gifts. We’re not huge on material possessions to begin with, but making everyone’s gifts feels a little more special and intimate to us. This year, we’re picking and roasting our own tea leaves to send to everyone. Previous years we’ve made soy candles and woodburned gifts. Saves us a bunch of money!

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