Family life is stressful enough every day of the year. But when the holidays roll around your stress (along with your waistline and the strain on your wallet) seems to multiply. When holiday planning, consider these ways to tackle the extraordinary pressures of this time of year:
Financial concerns. When you begin holiday planning, list each upcoming event on a separate piece of paper. For example, in a Christmas folder have an individual sheet of paper itemizing gift wants, costs and recipients, including costs associated with foods and travel expenses (and new clothes!). This creates concrete cost centers that can be deleted or expanded depending on your budget. You'll feel more in control and less overwhelmed with the flood of unexpected expenses after the holiday and, with any luck, this will also help diffuse your cash flow anxieties.
Holiday shopping time. Sit down with your partner (or alone) and schedule the days and times you'll do your shopping. This can help limit those frequent stops at the mall (and the extra spending) and will help you organize your busy schedule. Plus you won't have to deal with the arguments and frustration from the "When are we going shopping?" question.
Create a budget. Before holiday planning, honestly assess what your financial limits are for the holiday season, create a "spending plan" and stick to it. If you take the time to plan your gifts and other holiday expenses instead of randomly spending, you will be surprised at how much you can actually achieve.report abuse
Create a unique gift list. Instead of fighting the mall traffic or scouring for last-minute gifts, shop online to avoid crowded stores, find unique clearances and take advantage of Internet-only sales. Buy gift certificates or vouchers for people who appreciate them instead of taxing your brain to guess what they want.