News You Can Use: 3 Ways to Avoid Financial Stress This Christmas

Christmas is one of the great “budget-busters” of the year, and can be a major source of financial stress for your congregation. Good $ense came across this article with a few practical tips that you and your congregation might find helpful to minimize financial stress and provide greater opportunity to focus on the real Reason for the Season.

3 Ways to Avoid Financial Stress This Christmas

The Christmas season is finally here. Now that Thanksgiving is over it’s socially acceptable to put up your Christmas tree, decorate the outside of your house, sing Christmas carols and more. That also means it’s time finish your Christmas gift shopping too, if you haven’t already.

While Christmas is supposed to be a joyous time of year, for some it’s a time filled with worry and stress about finances. Instead of eagerly awaiting Christmas morning, some people are dreading their incoming credit card bills in January instead.

But Christmas doesn’t have to put you in debt, or ruin a joyous time of year. Here are three ways you can avoid financial stress this Christmas.

Have a Minimalist Christmas
This year will be my first minimalist Christmas. I’ve narrowed down my gift-giving list by quite a bit and I even got my family on board with having a much smaller Christmas this year. We decided to set a limit of one gift per person for our immediate family. I realize this tip won’t help some of you with very large families, but for us it works. There are only four of us, so a one gift limit is pretty reasonable.

The one gift limit we set will reduce the amount of money we spend on gifts, the amount of wrapping paper and other waste from wrapping gifts, and the amount of time spent shopping, wrapping gifts and unwrapping gifts. Instead, we’ll have more time to enjoy each other’s company and the gifts we do receive.

Set Spending Limits to Avoid Financial Stress
Another great way to avoid financial stress this Christmas is to set a spending limit. You can set a budget for yourself this Christmas for everything, including gifts, holiday groceries, decorations and more. But it can be harder to stick to a Christmas budget if those around you don’t seem to want to save money. This can cause you to want to blow your Christmas budget by buying more extravagant gifts, or by going over-the-top with other Christmas spending.

If you don’t think you can stick to your spending limit without some help, break down the financial barrier and tell your friends and family of your desire to spend less this Christmas. Chances are that they too are worried about their finances during this expensive time of the year.

Don’t stop at the spending limit either. Find ways to save, or get money back, on your spending. You can use TopCashBack to get up to 8.5% cash back on all your Amazon purchases. You can also use a site like Swagbucks to earn cash back if you go through their shopping portals.

Suggest a Secret Santa or Other Gift Exchange
For large groups of people, like extended family and groups of friends, you can suggest having a Secret Santa or other gift exchange so you don’t have to spend as much money or buy as many gifts. This will also help you to feel like less of a Scrooge and ease the financial burden of giving Christmas gifts.

If you don’t want to have a Secret Santa, there are lots of other ways to have a gift exchange. In years past, my extended family has had a gift exchange where everyone had to bring one gift with a spending limit of $20. Then we played a game to decide who got to keep which gift.

Another idea is to have a name drawing but not keep it a secret. Each person will be responsible for buying a gift for the person who’s name they drew, but it won’t be a secret. This is a fun way to see how well your family members really know each other.
Christmas doesn’t have to be a financial burden. There are lots of ways you can cut down on Christmas spending, and clutter, so you don’t feel a financial strain.

Taken from http://wisedollar.org/financial-stress-christmas/, accessed on December 3, 2016.