The holidays are so stressful, aren’t they? Between family get togethers, unhealthy diets, spending money, traveling… The stress that it causes is one thing we don’t need more of! So the idea of setting a holiday budget is something that can help significantly reduce stress because you have control over it. I don’t know about you, but budgeting isn’t exactly one of my favorite things.
It’s not that I’m against saving money, or knowing where I want my money to go. It’s just that it’s an overwhelming task, and it’s hard to keep up with. It just always seems to me that it’s just another thing to put on my to-do list. But on the other hand, stress can significantly negatively impact healing from chronic illness. And furthermore, if you get too much stress you can actually make symptoms return that you thought were already gone. So while I’m still working on keeping a regular budget, one thing I have gotten better with is setting a holiday budget.
A holiday budget is best set as early in the year as you can start thinking about it. Whenever you start thinking about possible gift ideas for the holidays, that’s a good time to start thinking about budgeting. The more you plan for, the less things will be able to stress you out because you know basically what to expect. We don’t really go all out on presents, we keep most things to a minimum. But I figured laying it out for you may help you!
Setting a Holiday Budget
- Gifts for Kids – we do 5 basic gifts for the kids; something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read, and one special gift
- Gifts for Spouse – We generally plan ahead what we’re going to get, and a lot of times it’s a family gift (one year we got a new sectional as our Christmas gift.) We also like to get a little something small for the other as a surprise.
- Stocking Stuffers – We get fun, inexpensive things for stocking stuffers. The boys usually get coloring books, small cars, and some candy goodies. For my husband, I get things like beard oil, multi-tools, wallet, accessories, and ammo.
- Gifts for Parents – We usually do a nice gift card for dinner for our parents.
- Gifts for Siblings/Nieces/Nephews – We don’t really do presents for our siblings, but we do buy a couple things for our niece and nephews.
- Money for Trips – plane tickets, gas money, car rentals, hotels, and food.
Make a list. Make sure it’s thorough, and includes everything that you plan on buying. And once you have the list finalized, stick to it. This is probably the hardest part, but also the most important. There’s no point in setting a budget if you’re not going to follow it.
The last thing that you want to do is not think about how much money the holidays are going to cost. It has a way of adding up quickly, for me anyways, and if I’m not paying attention, it will blindside me. And then I get stressed out, which makes me backslide on so many symptoms. So keeping the stress down is so important for healing chronic illness.
What methods do you use to keep stress to a minimum during the holidays?