Adults in the U.S. frequently feel stress about their finances. The holidays can make this worse. This week, we’re focusing on financial health!
Yeah! I know; most exciting topic EVER, right?
Well, maybe not, but finances cause about 70% of adults some level of stress and worry. Good financial education though means that a person has a healthy approach to money for their household. This includes a budget, emergency fund, limiting debt, and investing. Quite a list! And the Christmas season can be overwhelming. Here are some tips that might help.
- First tip: set a limit that you’re prepared to spend…and stick to it. Easier said than done, but if you start out with a manageable amount you can spend, you’ll at least have a goal set and can work toward it.
- A ‘naughty and nice’ list, you say? Indeed! Make a list of people that you’ll be purchasing gifts for and those that will not be getting gifts or will just get what we call “kitchen gifts” (items that come from our kitchen and garden; jam, peas, handmade candy, etc.) Our kitchen gifts cover everyone from Larry the trash man to co-workers.
- Someone’s list has a beautiful new phone on it, which is exactly twice the amount you budgeted for their gift. Skip it! Get them something less expensive or go in halves with someone else to get the expensive item. We do this with large ticket items and sometimes even less expensive items to show that they are from “all of us”.
- Seek out coupons for online and in-person shopping. They still exist for both, and you can find groups that share them online as well.
- Make up a coupon for “free babysitting” for your sister who just had a kid or give away a certificate for 2 of your wonderful apple pies. Be creative. Gifts like these pass the buck too in that you don’t have to have them before December 25th!
- Create a new, financially healthy habit. For example, for each dollar you spend, put a matching dollar into your retirement or give it to a charity that you love!
- If you’re handy, you can put together a few inexpensive items and personalize them for the recipient. For example, we have the cutest fleece blanket that is just two pieces of scrap fleece sewn together. But a friend too the time to embroider Elizabeth’s name on one piece before she sew them together, so of course, we’ll be keeping that forever!
- When possible, shop local. We usually give all the kids on our list at least one book. Books Galore in Festus has lots of used books, but they’ll also order new books. Want to support other nonprofits, the library sells coffee cups. Perhaps you can fill one of those with some peanut clusters from Just Be Kind Cafe and pair it with a coffee-inspired sign from another shop. Shove a Pogolino’s gift certificate into a bag with an apron and cookbook from the farmers’ market for an easy gift too.