How to Reduce Financial Stress During the Holidays


Most people look forward to the holiday season. It’s a time for many to reflect on the past year and celebrate new beginnings with family and friends. But, unfortunately, it’s also a time when people may feel more financial stress than at any other time of the year.

What is Holiday Financial Stress?

Financial stress is often associated with economic issues, such as job loss or an unanticipated change to your circumstances. And while that type of financial stress can be overwhelming, our focus is to address the more self-imposed holiday financial stress, including social expectations, overcommitting, lack of planning and trying to keep up with your neighbors and friends.

For example, you may feel this year’s holiday celebration must be better than last year’s experience, which may drive you to spend unnecessarily. Or maybe you get carried away every holiday season, trying to find the best gift for each family member or friend, which leads to spending more than you should.

The fact is, if you can control your expectations, you can begin to eliminate the stress and anxiety you may feel during the holiday season.

Tips to Reduce Financial Stress

The following are some helpful tips to reduce financial stress during the holidays:

      • Set a budget and stick to it – Determine how much you can spend on gifts or celebrations and don’t deviate from that amount. The closer you stick to your budget, the less stress you’ll feel.
      • Make a list and check it twice – Write down all the gifts you anticipate buying and start early. Then, take advantage of any deal you can find for gifts, party supplies, food and holiday décor.
      • Use cash for purchases – The more you can avoid using credit for purchases, the better. And it will also help you avoid the “after-holiday blues” as you begin to pay off the debt you incurred.
      • Practice self-care often – Do whatever it is that helps you relax, including exercise, massage therapy, taking a bath, reading a book, etc. Take the breaks you need to focus on improving your well-being to enjoy those around you better.
      • Ask what people want – There is no harm in asking what someone wants for the holidays. While some may think this takes away the surprise, if that’s a source of stress for you, ask anyway.
      • Be creative – You may need to give homemade gifts to family and friends, and there’s no harm in that. In fact, many will find them to be more heartfelt and appreciate them more than a gift you buy from the store. Remember, a plate of homemade cookies will go a long way with your neighbors and friends.
      • Create a plan – Start planning for next year now. Keep track of what you spend and begin to set aside money for next year. Consider opening a Christmas Club account at Pinnacle Bank or enroll in our Saving Cents program so you can save money as you spend.

While you may not eliminate all the stress you feel during the holidays, taking these steps will help you gain more control of your finances. Focus on what matters most and allow yourself to adopt new celebratory traditions if the old ones require too much time or money.

If you need assistance setting up a holiday budget or would like to set up other savings options, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

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