- Posted by Jon Harju
- On December 4, 2019
‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and spending — leaving many of us overwhelmed, stressed and anxious at this time of year.
With social media ads and store displays enticing us to get into the spirit of gift giving, it’s easy to go over budget. While 40% of Canadians budget what they plan to spend over the holidays, more than 50% think they will overspend, and 75% will use credit cards as their main form of payment.
This pressure to spend more than we should can leave too many of us stressed out. In fact, a survey suggests 25% of Canadians spending money during the holiday season think the resulting financial stress negatively affects their mental health.
But with the right strategies in place, you can enjoy some holiday bliss, avoid breaking the bank and look after your mental wellness.
How to manage financial stress over the holidays
- Avoid temptation
It may not always be possible to stay away from stores or online shopping sites, but limiting your visits can help you manage your spending. Avoid impulsive spending opportunities by being purposeful with your online shopping (no mindless browsing) and leave your credit cards at home when heading to the mall so you only spend what you can afford. Consider writing a list of what you need for the holidays, set your budget, and stick to it.
- Remember what is important
We are all aware that commercialism can overshadow the true sentiment of the holiday season. Remind yourself that enjoying time with family, friends and relationships matter more than material objects and costly gifts.
- Do meaningful activities
Instead of making the holidays a time where spending dollars becomes the focus, make it a time to do meaningful activities instead. Propose giving homemade gifts or come together as a family or group of friends to offer your time to others by volunteering at a food bank or shelter project, for example.
- Ask for support.
When your holiday expense list starts to mount up, look for ways to scale back. Research shows that having a support system around you can help you reach your goals. Surround yourself with people who will support your financial goals and help you succeed.
New habits bring happier outcomes
By creating boundaries, having open communication, and a spending plan you feel confident in, you can enjoy the holiday season without the anxious feelings, guilt-stricken purchases, and January credit card regrets.This is the time to make new habits so you can be fully present and enjoy the holidays with family and friends.
Download Snapclarity to complete your free mental health assessment.