Top Finance Tips – How to Avoid a Holiday Financial Hangover

financial hangoverThe holidays are a special time of the year when family and friends gather to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company.   The holiday season is often associated with splurging and it’s a great time to consider these tips to keep the focus on the true meaning of the holidays and help keep your spending in check.


Put the Focus on Creating Lasting Memories

Understandably, children often associate the holidays with the more material aspects such as gifts and while completely appropriate for youngsters, can add financial stress for parents.  Some of the best holiday memories I have from my childhood are not of gifts that I received but memories of spending time with my family making the popcorn and cranberry garland, putting the luminary candles on the street in front of our house, or sitting by the fire working on a crossword puzzle with my siblings listening to Christmas music and sipping on hot chocolate.  Don’t get me wrong, giving and receiving is an important part of the holidays and always will be, however the memories will last long after the toys are gone.  By focusing on building special memories with your family, you can demonstrate for your children that the true meaning of the holidays is not in the material things but in spending precious time with your loved ones.


Add Your Personal Touch to Gifts and Save Money

Nothing says I care about you more than receiving a handmade gift during the holidays.  I still remember the warm smiles of our neighbors as I delivered homemade cranberry nut bread gifts my mother made for the holidays.  There are lots of holiday gift ideas that can be made inexpensively and without a great deal of effort.  Some examples of gifts your friends and neighbors would surely appreciate are: handmade ornaments, holiday hanging potpourri made from whole cloves and oranges, freshly baked cakes and cookies, or vintage bottles filled with herb infused olive oil. 


Use Credit Wisely

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday spirit of giving and find yourself overspending during the holiday shopping season, especially if you are not careful managing your credit cards.  Using credit wisely means paying off your balance each month and using a card with rewards which provides cardmembers the opportunity to earn travel rewards on all of their holiday shopping. 


Make a Plan for Next Year

Making a budget for your holiday spending and sticking to it is the best way to avoid overspending.  Set realistic spending goals and setup a holiday savings account or automatic bank transfer to help avoid not having enough cash set aside. By saving every month, you may be able to take advantage when holiday list items are on sale.  Planning ahead and making purchases when items are on clearance is a smart way to stretch limited funds and is a great way to replace worn out decorations or lighting.  Some of the best deals on seasonal items are right after the holidays and you can typically save up to 50% or more. 


By creating realistic holiday expectations and making smart spending decisions, you can limit the chance of overspending this holiday season.

Readers: What finance tips do you use to help avoid a holiday financial hangover?

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