Financial Health During the Holidays

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and with it comes the dizzying array of ads urging us to take advantage of sales and discounts only available this time of year. The 2018 holiday season is predicted to be big for retailers, with Deloitte reporting that holiday sales could top $1.1 trillion this year due to record low unemployment and strong consumer confidence. Companies know
that convenience is important, and this year you may notice easier online shopping, pick up in store options, and more promotions in general.

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend more during the winter holidays than any other time of the year, so, the last few months of the year can be tough on your wallet. Travel expenses, gifts, and dining out with friends and family can easily add up and lead to debt in the new year. However, just a little planning and foresight can help you keep your budget happy and healthy throughout the holiday season. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Set a budget. Decide what is important and what you want and need money for. Prioritize those things based on your values and what you can afford. There are a variety of apps available to help with budgeting. Check out this list of the 8 best person finance apps of 2018 according to Investopedia.
  • Make a list and check it twice. Once your budget is complete, refer back to it to stay focused and avoid impulse purchases.
  • Make your gifts. Gifts that are handmade are more personal and can be easy on your budget. Check out Pinterest for a variety of ideas.
  • Give your time. If crafts are not your thing, consider things that you can do for, or with, another person. Plan a family trip to look forward to, or volunteer together as a family.
  • Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to what you are doing and notice your thoughts and feelings without judgment so you can make better decisions.
  • Use cash instead of credit. This can help you avoid a large credit card bill in January and can be key to helping you stay on track with your budget.

The holidays are a great time of year to increase your budget or add to your savings account. Consider offering pet sitting services through a site like Rover to bring in extra cash and enjoy time with a dog or cat during the holidays. You could also consider taking on a side job during your paid time off, as retailers and delivery services, such as UPS, hire extra workers to help with the seasonal crunch. Being creative in how you spend your time and money this season can make your holidays happier and more peaceful.

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