How to Be a Holiday Hero while Sticking to a Budget
Holidays can be filled with both joy and stress.
As a starting point, think about the end of the holiday season. How do you want to feel? What experiences are important to you? And of course, what do you want your credit card balance to look like?
What are the holidays about?
As you go into the holiday season, think about what lessons you want your children to take from your celebrations. This is a good opportunity to teach the value of time. Your presence is just as important as the presents. Here’s a list I like of ways to be present during the holidays.
You’re setting the foundation for how your children will experience family traditions when they are adults. You’re also modeling financial behavior to your kids, and teaching them about advertising. What legacies do you want to establish?
Commit to a holiday budget
Our families, and especially our children, may have expectations or wish lists for the holidays. But what do you want to drive your purchasing choices?
If you decide in advance how much you want to spend and how you’ll allocate that money, you may end up in a much better place in January. Once you have a plan, talk to your children about what is important during this season (ideally, before they make that huge list for Santa).
Alternative gift ideas
If you decide to cut back on toys and games, you can still mark the occasion with a different kind of gift. Coupon books for fun holiday activities with your kids are a great way to build memories together.
Plus, with the money you would have spent on toys, you can give investments, 529 contributions, or savings accounts. I think of this as saving money for your kids instead of spending money for them. In the long term, they’ll appreciate the investment in their futures.
The holidays can be a time of community and connection that focuses on our presence with our children. What is one thing you can do to have a holiday season that is restorative and rejuvenating? For more ideas about how to plan for a happy holiday season, check out this resource.
Saundra Davis is a nationally recognized financial coach and educator. Her experience in the U.S. Navy, where she made every money mistake possible, and her 20 years serving community-based organizations led her to the reality that the best way to help people find a path out of poverty is to help them become their own financial expert.