Financial stress can come at any point in your life and as the holidays are fast approaching, there is a big possibility that it can come at this point in the year. As the holidays should be about fun and laughter and looking back at all the wonderful things you have, stress can certainly dampen your spirits. It can take away any mood for festivities over the holidays.
As you try and celebrate the holidays, it is hard to get into a festive mood when you are in serious financial debt. It will always be at the back of your mind and will show up as you go through the holidays. That is why it is important that you are in the right frame of mind as the holidays come so you can enjoy it with the people that matter to you.
This is one of the reasons why you need to take a look at it and make sure that you are able to manage stress as the holidays are just a few weeks away. You need to get a handle on it so it does not spoil everything for you and your family as you try and celebrate the holidays. Here are a few of the things that can add to your stress levels.
Lack of funds for the holiday expenses
One of the primary reasons why your financial stress is through the roof is because you were not able to prepare for the expenses the holidays bring. As happy and festive as it is, it can make quite a dent in your finances if you did not make any efforts to financially prepare for it. One gift here and another one there plus a party in the office can all come up to a big amount. CNBC even shares that the average American has about $38,000 in debt. This is a big amount to carry over the holidays.
Too much commitment over a short period of time
As the holidays come near, you might have overbooked and stretched yourself too thin during the holidays. Too many parties, events, or even travel plans could all contribute to your stress level. The idea is to have a schedule you can keep and do not be afraid to say no. Know that the holidays are all about family and friends so make them your priority.
Going into the holidays with a big debt amount
Debt is a big part of your finances and the more you have of it, the bigger your financial stress can be. The fact that the holidays are just a few weeks away can highlight that fact and make you stress out even more. If you start thinking about all the additional things you need to spend on, everything suddenly starts to look very expensive.
How to manage holiday stress
Now that you have an idea on some of the triggers for financial stress during the holiday season, there are a few things you can do to help manage your budget as well as your stress level.
Face the problem
One of the first things you need to do is face the problem head-on and not beat around the bush. The longer you prolong the problem, the bigger it can get. You need to make sure you spend time going through your finances and auditing your debt obligations to pinpoint the cause of your problems. This is the first step in managing your stress.
It is also a good idea to take a look at all your sources of income. Apart from your day job, are there any other income streams you are overlooking? It might not sound important and in fact, if there are then that is extra money right? The thing is you could use that amount to help manage your financial stress and be able to enjoy the holidays better.
Make financial adjustments
Knowing the problem is an important first step because only then will you be able to make the necessary adjustments on your budget. You need to start with your budget when making any adjustments because this is where all your financial decisions emanate from. It dictates how you will use your income and where it is allocated every month.
You need to know if you have to increase your income, lower down expenses, or even both. The holidays might even be a perfect time to try out some income positive hobbies. Are you a budding photographer, a talented artist, or even a great cook? You can offer your services to family and friends to earn some extra cash for the holidays.
Put safeguards to prevent the same problems in the future
You can lower down your financial stress when you get to stay away from the same types of problems in the future. That is why it will benefit you greatly if you are proactive in looking for ways to protect your finances from the same situations moving forward. There are a few things you can do to help you accomplish this goal.
One of the things you can do is consider an automatic fund transfer so you are forced to save money. It also helps that even before you spend your funds, it is already tucked away safely in a spearate account. You then have to make do with what is left in your accoutn and budget it more efficienlty. You might even be able to start living a frugal lifestyle which is beneficial for your finances.
Plot out your goals early to reduce financial stress
Taking a proactive stance on your financial plans can help you manage your goals better. One way to do it is to plan them out as early as possible. This gives you that compass you can follow and consult everytime you need to make a financial decision. All your decisions, big and small, should bring you close to your goals and starting early puts you in a better position in hitting your targets.
If you are worried about holiday expenses, you can start to plan your way to saving what you need as early as now. Thiscan giev you just enough time to save for this year’s expenses. What you can do is use your list for this year to start preparing for next year. It is never too early to start saving for a goal you want to achieve.
Break down targets into smaller milestones
The longer lead time you have, the better it is for you since you can break down your target into smaller objectives. Saving $2400 for the holidays can be a big amoutn but if you start at the beginning of the year, you can break that down into $200 a month. You can even further break that down into $50 a week. If you compare $50 a week versus $2400, the former is easier to manage.
More than you holiday budget, you can use the same approach with all other financial goals you have. If you are saving for a retirement fund, you can break down your target goal into smaller amounts. The same can be done when you are in debt and you need to pay back all those credtdi card purchcases. You can slowly pay it off by paying down a small amount every month.
Financial stress can happen if you do not take a proactive approach with the way you manage your finances. That being said, you need to make sure that you pay close attention with how you handle your finances so you can enjoy the holidays.