Marin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin mom and financial planner Tanya Steinhofer, CFA,CFP®.
The holiday season is upon us. This time of year can be filled with lots of fun activities and positive emotions. However, it can also be a stressful time for many, running from one party to the next, trying to get it all done in time and wondering how you are going to pay for it all. Here are some tips to help reduce the anxiety associated with the holiday season.
Plan Ahead. The earlier you start planning, the less likely you’ll make last-minute impulse purchases and decisions. Start saving money in January into a gift or holiday account so you don’t rack up a big credit card bill during the holidays. Keep a list on your phone or computer where you save gift ideas, whenever they come to you during the year. This list will help you avoid making last minute impulse purchases that may not be appreciated. Many stores offer discounts to those who shop early. For example, many of the photo websites offer significant discounts if you order your cards and photo books early. Starting early in the fall, make a list of all your potential holiday expenses, including gifts, cards, entertaining, charitable gifts, postage, etc.
Build a budget. First, decide what you can afford to spend in total on all holiday expenses and include everything. For example, you might decide you can only afford to spend $2,000 during the holidays. Of that, $1,000 will cover holiday gifts (including shipping), $500 holiday cards (including postage) and another $500 on entertaining. Make a complete list of all the people you’d like to give gifts to, including family members, friends, teachers and service providers. After you make your list, decide how much you can afford to spend on each person. Be realistic in your gift decisions. Also, consider giving people baked goods and other home-made items instead of buying gifts. This type of thoughtful gift can be less expensive and is often more appreciated.
Marin Mommies presents a guest article by Marin mom and Marriage and Family Therapist Spencer Jacobs.
For many of you the mere mention of THE HOLIDAY SEASON is too much too soon. This season is full of meaning for our culture and holds a wide spectrum of traditions, memories and images for each individual. It can stir up emotions and issues for many of us- even those of us who LOVE the holidays. We’ve all seen countless movies illuminating the highs and lows of Christmas but the expectations of this season can create discomforts that are very real. The bright side is many of these issues can be helped with insight, planning and support. We cannot always control the effects of stress or even it’s root cause, but we can take steps to reduce the impact of stress before it de-rails us and the ones we love most.
Here are a few tips to keep you and your family light and bright this holiday season:
Consider your history with the holidays. Do you find yourself feeling low every year at a certain day or time? Will this be the first holiday since the loss of a loved one? Does an annual event leave you rattled each year? Alter traditions that leave you feeling low or stressed. Add new rituals that support your current life and do your best to avoid events that don’t make you feel good.