The holiday season is coming up. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all collide over the period of three months, which is fantastic for your celebratory spirit, but horrible for your wallet. It’s likely that these three months will stretch your finances to such a degree as to cause worry. In these instances, wise financial decision making is often the best course of action. Not only this, but preparing in the right way. If you begin now, you’ll be able to meet the demands of these holiday periods with much more ability and encouragement, compared to how you’re feeling now.
Here are some tips to getting started:
While Halloween is just around the corner, the other two major seasonal events are a little way off. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider your finances now. The further ahead you think about these, the better planned you will be. Many people neglect to budget at this point in time, and as a result, they need to rely on loans both short and long-term to help see them through. There are more options than high-interest rate pay day loans, so it’s important to be aware of what they are to begin with.
Of course, the best financial advice you could ever hear is to budget appropriately. This will give you the ability to plan well for your financial commitments. If that means trying to lessen your grocery bill now and how often you fuel your car, you will be able to make those decisions from today. You might find that instead of sacrificing one major part of your living standard, you will be able to shave off a little investment from all of them each month, freeing up a disposable cash reserve while feeling the effects of frugality less.
If you have valuable items which haven’t been used for at least six months, consider selling them to a home more worthy. Around this time of year is a seller's market, because people are looking for gifts to present their loved ones. You may be able to find a better home for your property with ease. This also serves a third purpose, as selling your unwanted belongings will free up room and storage space in your home for more goods gifted to you and your family members. This natural cycle of goods will be more than worthwhile if you’re funding the new with the old. For example, if you’re planning to purchase your child a new games console, slyly selling their old one (discreetly) can help go towards the cost of a new one, depending on what the console is and how much it’s worth.
Maintain A Schedule
One of the most common complaints you hear around this time of year is that there aren’t enough hours a day to plan for all the seasonal events. While trying to keep a family, keep a job, and keep your home in some semblance of order, you’d be forgiven for finding your time too stretched to shop for the upcoming festivities.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try and try well. Maintaining a schedule (two hours here - four hours there,) can help you stop feeling overwhelmed at all of the considerations you need to do. Syncing your schedule with your children and spouse can help tremendously in these instances, especially when you’re trying to decorate your property. Children often love decorating the home, so why not involve them and get a little help here and there?
Chipping away at your celebratory responsibilities in this way will help you manage the events into chunks, and enjoy the events nearer the time instead of worrying about everything you have to do.
What is a holiday season without the gifts? Well, some would argue it’s a more thoughtful seasonal event, with the intention behind the whole holiday being prioritized over the desire for material consumption. However, that argument is likely not going to go down well on Christmas day, and by lunchtime, you’ll feel a little silly for having suggested it. For this reason, it’s important to start planning your gifts now.
It’s likely that you’re never struggling for inspiration when it comes to buying for your closest relatives. However, buying for your friends and extended family can be a little more difficult. Of course, you should only buy for those who are buying for you, and never feel obligated to purchase gifts for your entire circle of friends. Sometimes, a warm card is more than enough to thank someone for being in your life and wishing them well for the holiday season. However, if you feel you must, some good gifts for people you aren’t overly familiar with could include gift cards, simple personalized gifts, or charitable donations in their name.
Be sure to remember that gift purchasing necessities aren’t limited to the gifts themselves. Remember to stock up on wrapping paper, ribbons and even setting up the equipment the night before (to return the games console example,) for the smoothest festive morning.
Mitigate Indulgence With Health
What would you consider to be the number one most predictable habit of the festive season? Family love? Coming together? Positivity? While this is undoubtedly prized, and we sincerely hope you’re lucky enough to consider those a reliable factor of your festive household, there is one more consideration which is more often predicted successfully.
What is it you ask? We’d say: indulgence. Indulgence over the festive period in drink, food, and relaxation is something we all need plenty of, especially when we’ve spent months working towards our goals in every capacity. You should allow yourself this time to get a little fatter than normal, and indulge in all the wonders that your local supermarket offers you, such as delectable sweets and meats.
We hate to poop the party, but that doesn’t mean you should be entirely OVERindulgent. That can lead to some pretty bad habits, and it’s hard to kick them during January. If you can, temper your indulgent seasonal experience with some exercise. This doesn’t have to be anything too intense, just taking long walks around your town in the beautiful winter crispness can be enough. Consider trying new activities with your family you have never experienced before, such as learning to Ski at an in-house ice slope or learn to ice skate at the rink!
Consider filling your seasonal meals with healthy foods, or alternating the snacks to more health options. For example, instead of filling a bowl with crisps, consider placing sweet-potato crunchy snacks there instead! There are many possibilities here, and all should be considered for when you’re trying your best to stay healthy.
If you want, taking a trip abroad during your seasonal time can be a wonderful experience, especially if you’re one who usually takes a trip to a more sunny locale. Heading to a snowy country around this time, such as some of those in Northern Europe, can really get you amidst the festivity feeling. If you’re looking for something truly magical, why not head to Disneyland Paris around the Christmas season? Because this period isn’t as populated as other times in the year, they often offer some wonderful discounted vacations which can give you an unforgettable experience for a reasonable investment.
While spending time with the family at home is a beautiful way to collect your shared stories and experience the magic together, heading to a foreign locale truly helps you get out of the ‘routine mode,’ and gives you a taste of something new. What’s best is that returning home affords you the opportunity to celebrate there too, giving you two relaxing celebration periods.
Surround Yourself With Those You Love
Now, this last point could be a discussion worthy of contention for a lot of people. However, you must remember that as your family comes together, prioritizing who is most important to you is key to creating your invite list. Many families feel it necessary to invite multiple members of the family around, or to meet with them in an extended capacity to some degree. While this can be wonderful, and it’s always important to prize bringing your family together in a happy format, sometimes it’s not suitable. We can’t always get on with our family members. The old saying goes that ‘you can pick your family but not your friends.’ For this reason, don’t be afraid to neglect an invite to family members you are worried might cause trouble, conflict, or otherwise, bring any amount of negativity in your family home.
Your closest family members deserve their beautiful festive period unimpeded, and often that means neglecting to invite the Auntie who has been known to cause rifts. The social wisdom of these events often says that bygones should be bygones, and this is true. The festive period, especially Christmas, is a fantastic place to exercise your love muscles. However, you should never be afraid or ashamed to keep your celebrations over the coming months a low-key affair, as experiencing these days with love can be the best thing you do.