The holiday season is fast approaching. For some, it will be a wonderful time of the year. But for many who can't afford it, it can be overwhelming.
This year has been challenging for many Americans. The effects of the pandemic have hit our wallets harder than we ever imagined. Many have lost their livelihoods and others have taken on more debt.
Experts warn that if people are not careful this season, they could worsen their financial health. So what can you do when you can't afford the holiday season?
Find out what moves to make instead of racking up the debt.
The best way to start tackling an issue is to accept that you have a problem. So don't fool yourself that you can afford to spend money like other seasons.
Accept that buying anything extra this year will be an uphill task, and then plan accordingly. The good news is that this doesn't mean you can't have a great time with loved ones. You just have to adjust to prevent yourself from spending beyond your means.
Have Honest Conversations With Your Kids
Many parents spend thousands of dollars buying gifts for their children during the holiday season. And as a result, children have expectations to be met.
But since this year is rough, it pays to prepare them for the change. Let them know that you won't afford a big festive season because it has been a tough year. Help them understand it is not their fault.
Assure them that although it will not be as big as usual, it will be fun. There are so many activities to do as a family that doesn't involve spending a lot of money.
Don't Be Ashamed To Talk To Your Friends and Family
Children aren't the only ones expecting gifts. Many of us know that family and friends will get us gifts, and we're worried because we have nothing to offer in return.
The surest way to address this concern is to take financial responsibility and let your friends and family know ahead of time. This is an admirable thing to do and you shouldn't feel ashamed about it.
Chances are your family and friends will be more understanding because they wouldn't want you sinking into debt to get them gifts. Some of them are probably waiting for someone like you to initiate the conversation.
Make Some Extra Income
If you don't have any money in your budget for the holidays, it's not too late to find a side-hustle and start earning some extra income.
This means taking on a seasonal retail job, doing odd jobs, babysitting, tutoring, and freelance writing, among others. Just be sure to focus on what interests you or areas you are skilled at.
Alternatively, find some things you don't need in the house and sell them to make some extra money to spend this season.
Invest In Alternative Gifts This Holiday Season
Gifts take up a large portion of holiday spending. So if you play your cards well on this, you can save lots of money. Many people who have succeeded in this say they invested in alternative gifts.
So think about what you can make at home. Homemade gifts are usually seen as thoughtful and meaningful as compared to items bought at a store.
To help you pick what to make for your friends and family, ask yourself the following:
- What can you make well?
- What items can your family and friends compliment you for making?
- How can you personalize each item?
Some of the most affordable and adored homemade gifts include scarves, cookies, and freezable meals.
The holiday season is often seen as a time to spend money on our loved ones. But if you can't afford it, don't push yourself into taking on more debt. The most important thing to give is your time. We hope these tips help you enjoy the season without breaking your budget. Good luck and happy holidays!