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posted in: Financial Wellness
by Carrie Skogsberg

Tips for a stress-free holiday

What stresses you out over the holiday season? A recent COUNTRY Financial® survey found that finances are the leading stressor for Americans during the holidays, followed by finding the right gifts and having enough time to do it all.

It’s tough to find a balance between joining in the magic of the holiday while also trying to stay on a budget. And the holidays can be even more stressful if you’re the one who handles your family’s shopping, decorating and hosting duties. But there are ways to involve your family in the planning and create cherished traditions in the process.

1. Have a candid conversation with your partner about your holiday budget.

A recent study found that nearly a quarter of divorces are due to money issues. Having an open, honest conversation about how much you can realistically spend on gifts, travel and hosting this holiday season will help to create clarity and set expectations. Use this time to get on the same page about how much you plan to spend on your children and other family members, and where you can cut back.

2. Create a holiday budget as soon as possible – and write it down.

Did you know writing down your budget increases the chances you’ll stick to it? Don’t forget all of those holiday extras that sneak up and surprise you – food for parties, decorations and holiday cards, end-of-year charitable gifts, etc. Check in on your budget throughout the season to be sure you’re staying on track and make adjustments when needed.

3. Involve your family to stay on track and share responsibility.

According to a COUNTRY Financial survey, some parents would rather go to the dentist or pay a speeding ticket than talk with their kids about money, but the holidays are a great time to teach your kids valuable money lessons. Take your kids shopping for their siblings and others on your list like their teachers and cousins, or help them choose gifts for those in need. Giving them cash in an envelope is an impactful way to teach them to budget and understand the value of money.

What about extended family? It’s important to share your budget concerns with them as well. Try suggesting ways to save on gifts like a Secret Santa exchange, drawing names for gifts or making a joint donation to a charity. They may appreciate your money-saving ideas!

Money doesn’t have to be a taboo topic in your family, even around the holidays. In fact, it may even bring your family closer as you find new ways to experience the holiday season together.

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