The holiday season brings with it beloved traditions, joyous memories, and happy moments with friends and family. And plenty of good old-fashioned financial stress!
For so many couples, the holidays are a minefield of difficult money decisions. How do we stick to a budget and still give meaningful gifts? Do we really need to buy a gift for Great Aunt Martha? Where are we going to get the money to pay for all of this stuff? With so many money-based decisions coming in the midst of all the other stressors of the holiday season, it’s more important than ever that your financial communication stays strong.
Start this holiday season with a Money Huddle to check in on expectations and create a spending plan that won’t leave you broke come January. Here’s what you need to cover:
1. The gift list: Work together to figure out who you need to buy for. If money is tight this year, consider one gift for your sibling’s whole family instead of a gift for each person. Suggest exchanging names, or get creative and give handmade gifts instead.
2. Spending limits: Before you set foot in a store or do any online shopping, know what you can spend on your gifts. Look at your budget and be realistic about what you can spend. Be conservative on your limits so you have a little wiggle room if you need it.
3. Timing: Last minute shopping usually leads to overspending. Start your shopping early – even before Thanksgiving – to give yourself time to find the best deals and make smart purchases.
4. Check-ins: Plan on weekly Money Huddles to make sure you’re staying on track. Write down what you’ve spent, check people off your list as you buy their gifts, and keep communicating.
5. Money Personalities: The holidays bring out the strengths and challenges of every money personality (Spenders are in the zone, Savers are freaking out). Keep your money personalities in mind as you make your plans and be prepared to compromise to keep the holiday season merry and bright for both of you.