How to Enjoy the Holidays Despite Economic Stress

There’s no denying that while the holidays can be joyful, they can also be stressful. This is especially true if you’re struggling financially. You might feel like you’re under a lot of pressure to give your family and friends expensive gifts. Perhaps you’re trying to pick up extra hours at work to create more wiggle room in your budget. Now, you’re crunched for time during one of the busiest seasons of the year. Maybe you’re considering taking on credit card debt just so that you can “save face” in front of your social circle.

When you’re dealing with financial troubles, part of you might wish that you could just hibernate throughout the holidays. But you can enjoy this season without breaking the bank. Here are a few tips for coping with financial stress during the holidays.

Communicate Honestly With Your Friends

You may be embarrassed to tell your friends and family that your budget is tight. But true friends will be understanding. It’s important to be honest with your friends about whether or not you can afford to participate in a gift exchange or attend an event. Try suggesting alternative holiday activities that are free or low-cost. It can be tough to bring up this topic, but it’s far better than going into debt to impress people.

Decide If You Truly Need To Travel

For many people, the holiday season means traveling out of town to see family. This can involve spending lots of money on gas, plane tickets, train tickets, rental cars, and hotel rooms, taking time off from work, and budgeting for miscellaneous costs, like stopping for food on long road trips. Talk to your family about what you can realistically handle in terms of travel costs. You may end up planning for a shorter trip out of town, giving yourself extra time to drive or take a train rather than flying, or offering to host people at your home instead.

Give Homemade Gifts

Every holiday season, we’re bombarded with advertisements about what we should buy for our loved ones. This is a good time to limit your social media exposure, ignore online promotions and junk mail, and think about how you can give thoughtful, homemade gifts to the people in your life. For example, baked goods will almost always be appreciated, and they’re quite economical compared to pricier gift ideas!

Enjoy Budget-Friendly Traditions

Some holiday traditions can stretch your budget. This year, it may be time to rethink some of those traditions and opt for affordable fun instead. Look up free local events in your area, or invite a few friends over to make hot chocolate and watch holiday movies! You can also take a walk around your neighborhood to look at the holiday lights.

Spend Some Time Volunteering

Nothing will help you reconnect with the true spirit of this season like volunteering. You may want to pitch in at a soup kitchen, offer to assist with holiday events at your church if you attend one, help out at a homeless shelter in your neighborhood, or see if your local animal shelter could use an extra set of hands. Volunteering won’t cost you a thing, and you won’t face any pressure to spend money on these activities. In fact, you’ll be able to give from your heart without spending a dime. It’s what the holidays are all about!

Is financial stress making it hard for you to enjoy the holiday season? Opening up to a therapist can help. Reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you navigate stress with therapy for women.