Managing Holiday Spending

The holiday season can be very stressful in the best of times, and this can be especially true when you are facing debt issues. The holidays are expensive. Between gifts, traveling, and parties, the bills can add up quickly. It's not a time of year that you want to think about debt, and you should enjoy time with your friends and families. However, it doesn't hurt to keep a few things in mind if your money is tight this time of year.

Gifts are a part of the holiday season, for better or worse. It's always nice to give a gift that someone appreciates, especially to a child. However, this isn't easy when your credit cards are nearly maxed out and there is no money in the bank. If your budget is limited, and you need to cut back on gift giving, try giving more modestly to adults in your life. Adults can always buy things for themselves, they're not at the mercy of Christmas to get something they have wanted all year. If you can only buy a limited number of gifts, save them for the children in your life, who will care more and enjoy it more.

You can also limited the scope of who you buy gifts for. Get something for your closest friends and family members, but you don't need to buy something for everyone on the periphery of your life. You don't need to buy your mailman or every co-worker something. This doesn't mean you are not generous. You'll be able to give gifts again when you are back on your feet. But, you may need to cut back this year, or give more modestly. Once again, most adults don't care about receiving gifts, and are more  likely to appreciate your presence.

Travel is another holiday expense. Flying home to be with family can be costly. You should travel to be with your family if possible, but if you can not, you may want to travel closer to home, possibly allowing yourself to drive. You could also consider staying a shorter period of time, as this will reduce expenses such as eating out or hotels. Once again, this may not be ideal, but better days are ahead in the future, and it may be much easier to travel then.

Finally, people love to throw parties around the holidays. It's a great opportunity to see all of the important people in your life at one time. Just like gifting and traveling, it can get expensive. If money is tight, you may consider not hosting a party, but instead attending other parties. It is easier to bring a bottle of wine or a dish than providing for an entire party. And, you'll still be around the people you care about.

The holidays truly are a time of year to spend time with the people you care most about in your life. It is NOT about spending the most money. Holiday traditions and experiences can be expensive. But, reducing those costs and still enjoying the holidays is entirely possible.