Our partners at GreenPath Financial provide a plan to help reduce financial stress this holiday season.
In a holiday season like no other, the impact of financial instability on stress levels is a daily challenge for many of us.
Some of the biggest challenges stem from holiday stress, the ongoing pandemic, and the reduced chance for staying socially connected this upcoming winter.
To reduce financial stress this holiday season, it can be helpful to consider the following suggestions.
Explore Mental Health Resources
In the hustle and bustle of the season, take time to explore mental health resources. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. The CDC is a good starting place to explore mental health resources for adults, children, families and more https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/tools-resources/index.htm. They offer a quiz to help separate the myths from the facts about mental health. https://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/quiz/index.htm
Simplify the Season
For less financial stress, maybe this is the year to simplify gift-giving as well as entertaining – given social distancing during the pandemic. Rethink the complicated decorating, holiday cards and other traditions to take off some of the stress.
GreenPath has put together a treasure trove of tips and suggestions to simplify the holiday season, and also reduce the chance for overspending.
Instead of loading up the credit card with costly gifts, consider free ways to spread joy this holiday season. From volunteering in someone’s name, to sharing a “memory moment” with photos and other keepsakes, there are many creative ways to avoid overspending on gifts, while still spreading joy and kindness to ourselves and others.
Create a Spending Plan
It might seem like a small step to take, but putting together a holiday spending plan helps relieve uncertainty and financial stress. A budget can help you figure out how to meet both your short and long-term financial goals – especially during the holidays.
A few starter questions and this simple worksheet can help you get an idea of what you have to work with, what your commitments are, and what you have remaining to devote to your goals. Remember, nothing is set in stone. You’re in charge of your plan and your goals! Many people who build a simple spending plan then make plans to pay off debt and to make savings a priority (pay yourself first!) You can always adjust your goal along the way, review your spending plan and make adjustments to trim expenses or direct money toward something different.
If your income is less than your commitments, don’t panic. It’s going to be ok. Your spending plan can help you find places to save money and trim expenses.
We hope these ideas help you make a plan to reduce financial stress this holiday season. You’re not alone. GreenPath's financial counselors are ready to start a conversation about your specific situation and explore options to help you manage the uncertainty and stress you may be facing.