Growing up, the holiday season held so much magic, but one mystery remained: Why did so many adults seem stressed?
Now we know. The holiday season takes its toll on just about everybody. Americans are expected to spend around $720 billion this holiday season[i]. Between money constraints and scheduling issues, it’s no wonder 62% of people report feeling stressed or very stressed during the most wonderful time of the year[ii].
That’s why we’re bringing a simple suggestion your way: Plan everything out beforehand.
What are your travel plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas? Grab your calendar and determine where you’ll be throughout the holiday season. For trips out of town, work out how you will get there. Will you drive or fly? Are you staying with family and friends, or do you need to book a place to stay? Allocate these costs into your overall holiday spending budget.
Will you host Thanksgiving or Christmas in your home? Do you have the turkey-carving honors this year? Are you planning to have the whole family over for Christmas morning brunch? Are you planning to host a holiday party sometime in between? Think now about what you’ll provide, and—since you’re in charge—what you might ask your guests to bring.
How much money should you spend on your family, friends and spouse? No one wants to be the holiday Grinch. You can play Santa as long as you’re Santa on a budget. When discussing the “should” in this question, do your best not to be swayed by feelings of obligation. Instead, strive to reach a budget number that both sits well with your gift-giving priorities and that you can afford.
If you have kids, how much money will you spend on them? Your kids are lovely, we’re sure. Ours are, too. That’s what makes surprising them with gifts so much fun! And surprise them we do—the average American aged 8 to 14 opens up about $422 in gifts on Christmas morning. If that fits your budget and your priorities, go for it! Studies show us, though, that about 25% of parents take out payday loans, dip into their emergency funds, or withdraw from retirement to pay for presents[iii]. Yikes!
What about your holiday food budget? Ah, the other reason for the season. Every Thanksgiving and Christmas get-together is centered around food. You’re likely to go out to dinner more and also cook and bake above your normal routine. Build this overlooked cost into your budget because food, especially holiday food, isn’t cheap!
With your carefully laid plans made, you now have the peace of mind to enjoy a happy and fiscally responsible holiday season with wishes for joy, safety and prosperity from all of us at Superior Wealth Management Group!
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
[i] National Retail Federation, October 2018 NRF.COM
[ii] David Mills, November 2015, Healthline.com
[iii] T.Rowe Price, November 2016, troweprice.com/corporate/en/press