The holiday season is full of joy, gratitude, and giving. But, sometimes the pressure to find the “perfect gift” can leave you feeling stressed about your personal finances.
Financial stress has a huge impact on personal health and wellness. In a 2016 survey done by Sunlife, 29% of Canadians are distracted at work as a result of their financial situation. One-third of Canadians report feeling insecure about their overall financial health, and these stressors have been correlated to physical health and strains on personal and professional relationships.
5 tips to help you help you stay financial fit this holiday season:
- Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Set a comfortable price point for everyone on your list. Plan in advance and include in your budget extra items such as stocking stuffers, gift wrap, holiday cards and tape, which can add up if they are not accounted for in the preliminary stages.
- Do your research. Set aside time to compare prices, and search to find discounts through online/flyer offers—you can even set up notifications online if there is a sale on a certain item.
- Communicate with your loved ones, colleagues and acquaintances about your personal situation and your limitations. For example, if there is an office gift exchange, set a limit of $10-$15 dollars or offer up alternatives to a traditional gift. Get creative with your gift giving to keep costs down: bake something, make something, or do a “white elephant” gift exchange instead, etc.
- Pay with cash. There is a mental self-check that happens when you exchange cash for an item. It is a visual reminder to be conscious of what you are purchasing. In this day and age, it is very easy to shop online and charge it to a card, and credit card statements often become “out of sight, out of mind.” As well, it is easy to ignore or discount shipping costs and other fees when shopping online, but these charges can add up quickly.
- Resist the urge to splurge. When you go shopping (online or in person), be like Santa and make a list and check it twice. Decide on a gift before you go to purchase any item and know in advance, based on your research, what is a reasonable price point for that gift. Stick to the allotted items and try not to deviate and splurge on a more costly item.
Let’s all stay physically, mentally and financially fit this season.
If you or someone you know is struggling with stress, health and wellness issues, please reach out. CPA Assist provides confidential 24/7 help to Alberta Chartered Professional Accountants, candidates, and their immediate families. Call for 24hr toll-free confidential support at 1-855-596-4222.