Living paycheck to paycheck and carrying debt can feel like a heavy weight on your chest. When major events come up like birthdays and Christmas, it can feel like that weight gets heavier, to the point of breaking you.
Alleviate some of that stress and anxiety so you can actually enjoy the holidays by trying some of these strategies for coping with Christmas when money is really really tight.
- Ask your family to draw names for a gift exchange. Instead of feeling pressure to get a gift for every single person in your family (which can be overwhelming even if it’s not a big family), suggest that everyone over a certain age draws a name out of a hat and you only get a gift for that person.
- Start as early as you can and spread out your Christmas shopping. By starting months in advance, you can get a few things at a time and spread it over multiple paychecks.
- Take advantage of holiday sales and discounts. Yes, that means Black Friday shopping—but the good thing is that no longer means you have to stand in line all night because stores now offer the deep discounts online, and not just on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
- Shop online and check multiple websites for the best price. Cyber-shopping also helps avoid impulse buys, like when it’s hard to avoid all the pretty things in the stores.
- Throw out your old notions of assigning value to gifts. If you found the perfect gift for one person on your list but it’s a different amount than you spent on another person on the list, so what? Assign value to the gifts you give based on how much they fit the person and how much it means to them, not the dollar amount you spend.
- Shop secondhand. If you really want to get your sister that designer handbag she’s always wanted, check out quality resell websites like Poshmark or Tradesy. They have a lot of high-end branded clothing, handbags and shoes.
- Consider homemade. Can you spend a few dollars on supplies and make a beautiful holiday wreath or a unique Christmas tree ornament? Can you knit or bake great cookies? You can use your talents and hobbies. Don’t underestimate the power of something that comes from your heart and hard work.