Some anxieties are universal, like family and money. And nothing mixes that cocktail into a nog quite like the holidays. It's enough to make you need therapy.
So I talked to The Money Therapist , Holly Signoelli. She made the same observation, "everyone's always stressed when it comes to money with the holidays, and nobody's having fun anymore."
So here are Holly's holiday money tips.
Your Holiday Budget Is More Than Just Gifts
That bottle of wine, the decorations, the new outfit... You're leaving items off your holiday budget now that will become unpleasant surprises later. As Holly says, people get "about halfway through their Christmas list and then they're like, 'Oops, I've gotta do this, I've gotta do that.'" Except the money’s already gone!
So make a holiday budget that includes things OTHER THAN presents, and dial back on gift spending as necessary.
Rent The Dress
If you have a lot of events lined up this season, Holly says to "rent, don't buy, when it comes to clothes during the holidays. Because we are living in a world of social media."
Translation for the fellas: "All of your pictures will look the same."
Aha. The womenfolk can't have that. The solution? "I love Rent the Runway, because you can go online, find the perfect dress for the perfect price." And Holly says you won't have to worry that the fashions will only look right on supermodels, "because there's going to be real people that have rented that dress and they take pictures and they upload it to the app. So it's realistic."
Set Yourself Free
People are getting very, VERY specific with their wish lists. Sometimes they even give you a bar code! The result? It can feel like you're taking orders. Holly concurs, "I want this, I want this color, I want this dollar amount... and then it's not even fun."
And it’s really not fun when some of those “assigned” items put you over budget.
So set yourself free for at least some of your holiday shopping, and rediscover the joy of finding unique and thoughtful gifts that reflect your powers of observation and creativity. Think about it, some of the best gifts you’ve ever received have probably been more thoughtful and unique than expensive and expected.
Use these tips to take the financial stress of the season, and then you can enjoy the other things about the holidays. You know… like your family.