After dealing with many twists and turns throughout the year, many Americans are understandably looking forward to the holiday season.
This year, many Americans may be dealing with financial setbacks such as a loss of employment, reduced income, or other unanticipated expenses. With a little advanced planning, there are options to help alleviate that stress.
Here are five tips designed to give you less stress and more joy this holiday season.
Set a Holiday Spending Limit
It can be easy to let spending get out of control during the holidays. Create a holiday budget/spending plan to cap your spending. Be sure to factor in additional non-gift-related expenses that can quickly add up, such as holiday photos, decorations, food, and shipping gifts to loved ones.
Avoid Putting Holiday Debt on Credit Cards
The number one of financial wellness? Avoid spending money you don’t have. While it’s easy to do, putting holiday spending on credit cards can be risky, especially if you don’t have the funds to pay it off when the bill comes due.
According to a recent survey, Americans racked up an average of $ 1,325 in holiday debt. Of those surveyed, 75% said they couldn’t pay it off in January, with 15% saying they only intended to pay the minimum monthly payment. If you’re wondering, that translates to over $600 in interest and five years of making payments—ouch!
Some financial institutions offer small dollar loans that can help consumers bridge the gap with added expenses of the holidays. Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union offers a special holiday loan, Jolly Dollars personal loan. You can also see a related article here.
Trade Pricey for Priceless
A great gift doesn’t have to be expensive. Think outside the box and treat your loved ones to a thoughtful gift that generates excitement without the price tag. Maybe that’s a handmade item, a DIY project, a fun experience, a coupon book, or just the gift of your time. Check out this blog for great ways to spread holiday joy (without spending too much cash).
Keep Your Personal Info Safe
The holiday season is a time when people are more vulnerable to identity theft scams. Not only are they making more purchases than at any other time of year, but they are often distracted when doing so. According to a recent Experian study, as much as 43% of holiday shopping identity theft occurs online. It is essential to be aware of the best ways to protect yourself from identity theft:
- Stay up-to-date with online scams
- Use strong account passwords
- Monitor your credit report
If you find yourself the victim of identity theft, here are some critical steps to take.
Stay the Course with Free Financial Counseling from GreenPath
If you are caught up in the holiday frenzy and stressed about overspending, the counselors at GreenPath can help. In fact, 90% of people surveyed report feeling better prepared to handle their finances after speaking with a financial counselor. Get ahead of your holiday finances and connect with a counselor today—it’s free, no pressure, and 100% confidential.