5 Ways Families Can Reduce Financial Pressure at Christmas
Christmas is only days away but for many young families, Christmas is a financial and emotional strain with the pressure to spend money they don't have.
When shopping for Christmas gifts, there's always the question of how much you should spend. What is a “normal” spending amount? What if someone spends more money on a gift for you than you did for them?
With these questions in mind, we've created five tips to help release some of the financial pressures around Christmas.
1. Agree on a Spending Limit
The best way to prevent pressure to overspend and any feelings of inadequacy is to agree on a spending limit with your family. Maybe you decide on a per gift limit e.g. $20 or an amount per family, e.g. $100.
“Secret Santa” is another effective way to prevent overspending on gifts. Here, everyone in the family puts their name into a hat and each family member draws a name out and buys a gift only for that person. Most people also apply a spending limit for Secret Santa gifts too.
Whatever approach you decide, make sure that it works for your budget. After all, no one wants to start off the New Year with hundreds of dollars in debt.
2. Don't Overspend on Gifts for Children
We know you want to give your children the world, but it's important to remember that when it comes to buying gifts for children, young kids don't care about brands nor the amount of money you spend.
It's also important to remind yourself that Christmas is not a contest. Spend only what you are comfortable with.
Kids love receiving gifts, but often it's the simplest and least expensive gifts they enjoy the most. Therefore, remove the pressure to spend big or to shop for brands - children don't know the difference and are happy with things that keep them entertained.
3. Shop Around for the Best Price
Before heading to the shopping mall, do some research to see which store has the cheapest price. By checking prices online and comparing prices between retailers, you can save you a lot of money.
Buying online is often, but not always, cheaper. When shopping online, you've got a wider range to choose from including the availability of sizes, colours, and styles. However, be sure to check for shipping costs. In some cases, after adding on the shipping costs, the item may be cheaper to buy in store.
4. Tell Your Kids About Your Family Financial Situation
Every parent wants to give their children the best Christmas. And you can without it costing a fortune.
Continuing from tip #2 above, it's crucial that you spend only what you're realistically able to. This also means, as uncomfortable as it may seem, being honest and letting your kids know about your family's financial situation.
If you're finding this Christmas difficult financially, and you're unable to afford a gift that your child really wants, carefully inform your children about your family's financial situation. Your children will understand and appreciate the honesty which will also reduce any feelings of disappointment when they don't receive the particular gift they were hoping for.
5. Lighten the Load
If you're hosting Christmas lunch or dinner for the extended family, it can be quite an expensive undertaking. In addition to the cost of feeding a large group of people, there's also the expense of decorations among many other things.
Ask each family member to each bring an item of food. Perhaps someone buys the wine, another person brings dessert, and another brings the vegetables. Sharing the cost of Christmas dinner will make things a lot cheaper and a lot less stressful for you and your family.
Here´s to a merry and financially-friendly Christmas!