It’s the “season for giving,” so spending money and sharing with others seems fitting, right? So then why do the holidays represent such a stressful time? This stress can often occur when you don’t have a financial plan or budget in place. Here are 5 tips we’ve crafted to help you stick to your holiday budget. Remember that whatever you’re spending during the holiday season, that cost isn’t tied to the value of the people you’re spending time with. It’s the relationships that matter most!

Tip #1: Create a Budget and Stick to It
When starting to draft your holiday budget, consult spending from holidays past. Identify some things you feel you could have done differently and apply them to this year’s planning.

Tip #2: Give Personalized or Homemade Gifts Instead of Expensive Gifts
A small, thoughtful gift is worth more than a costly gift that someone may never use. Avoid impulses to shop at trendy department stores and start the holiday by taking a moment to think about what those on your list could really use. Perhaps instead of purchasing a gift, you make something from scratch that is extra personal for your friends and family.

Tip #3: Organize Group Volunteering Instead of Holiday Parties
Organize a volunteer day for you and a group of friends and family. You’ll get to spend quality time together – and you’ll come out of the day feeling proud of your efforts rather than suffering from buyer’s remorse. Plus, everyone can benefit from volunteering. Your friends and family will remember what you did and thank you for it, but it won’t happen without your gift of effort to organize.

Tip #4: Resist the Urge!
We all just want everyone to be happy and feel loved during the holiday season. To make that happen, we sometimes think that giving the ultimate gift is what will do it. It won’t. Give the gift of your time instead. Nowadays, with technology, we forget that the minutes together are what matters most.

Tip #5: Treat Your Credit Card like a Debit Card
Set a limit for how much you want to spend and stick to it. Pretending that your credit card is like your bank account can help you make sure you’re not spending more than you can afford to.

So, how do you pick yourself up and get on the right track following the holiday financial frenzy? You need to have a plan. Our Financial Fitness Challenge program provides you with the tools, tips and training to help plan a budget and stick to it this holiday season.

Log in now to take the next step in your financial learning journey and enjoy this holiday season.

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