This is a season of joy and family, togetherness, and cheer. The holidays can also be a bustling time of expensive gift-giving, costly travel, elaborate meals — and, as much as we’d like to avoid it, debt. While the pressure to never arrive empty-handed mounts, here are some ways you can avoid taking a financial tumble that could impact your household and your small business.
Avoid Spending for Spending’s Sake
While your inbox may be flooded with limited-time offers that seem too good to pass up, don’t buy into the enticing sales and advertisements designed to lure you in with irresistible deals. List-making is a wonderful way to plan your gifting and be intentional with purchases. Create a detailed shopping list, seek out the items you need, and avoid filling your cart with expensive add-ons. Impulse buying leads to rising expenses and, ultimately, debt that will linger well after the festivities have ended.
Budget for Your Business, Budget for Yourself
One of the easiest ways to limit holiday debt is to establish a realistic budget. Take the time to evaluate your financial situation, including income, existing expenses, and any outstanding bills. Once you have a clear picture of your financial standing, allocate a specific amount for holiday-related costs. Be sure to think through gifts, decorations, travel, and any additional costs associated with the season, such as holiday marketing for your business. A well-defined budget is a guiding principle that can help you make informed spending decisions while preventing the temptation to overspend.
Are you tech-savvy? NerdWallet has a great online budget worksheet for your household. Prefer a pen-and-paper approach? Consumer.gov has a worksheet to track expenses and income to help you prepare a budget any time of year.
Prioritize Thoughtful Gestures
The true essence of this holiday season lies in the sentiment behind gifts rather than their price tags. Instead of succumbing to the pressure of expensive presents, consider prioritizing thoughtful gestures and meaningful experiences. Handmade gifts, personalized tokens of appreciation, or even the gift of your time can often hold more value than material possessions. By shifting the focus from extravagant spending to genuine connections, you can reduce financial strain and embrace the true meaning of the holidays.
Discover Alternatives to Physical Gifts
In a world inundated with materialism, consider alternatives to traditional gift-giving. Experiences such as favors, outdoor adventures, or cooking classes can create lasting memories without contributing to holiday debt. Additionally, charitable donations made in the name of a loved one can add a philanthropic touch to your gift-giving, spreading the joy beyond your immediate circle. (You could even give the gift of vitalized communities through entrepreneurship with a donation to DreamSpring!) Exploring creative and cost-effective alternatives allows you to express your love and appreciation without compromising financial stability.
Holiday shopping can be a minefield of tempting deals and impulse purchases from big-box stores. If you’re purchasing presents, consider supporting other small businesses or patronizing mom ‘n’ pop shops located in communities that are meaningful to your recipients. Shopping small keeps your money circulating in the local economy and contributes to economic vibrancy through jobs — truly the gift that keeps on giving.