Holidays & stress
They always seem to go hand in hand. Even when the rest of the year has been smooth sailing, when December comes there are two things that seem to create a bit of anxiety.
I’m usually very good with money, but when faced with having to spend SO MUCH…ALL AT ONCE for gifts, parties, fancy holiday outfits, etc. I find that it can be too much for my budget. As we’ve aged, our family has grown. Nieces, nephews and cousins all having children. How do you handle it all?
The funny thing is, my favorite holiday memory was one that happened about 30 years ago. My mother-in-law always cooked the holiday dinner and the entire family brought the side dishes. The problem was, that we had ordered new furniture which was supposed to be in WAY before the holiday. In true Murphy’s Law fashion we had no living room or dining room furniture.
We put everything out buffet style on the kitchen counter and went into the living room/dining room area (we used to have 30+ guests) and sat on the floor eating. We lit a fire in the fireplace, and ate, sang and laughed our way through the entire meal.
It was at that moment that I realized that holidays weren’t about how much you gave, or what you had, but it was ALL about family and friends being together.
Each year as I begin the holiday preparations I try to remember my favorite day spent sitting on the floor with my family having the best dinner we’ve ever had together. It’s a reminder that it’s not about fancy wine with dinner or over-priced gifts, but about sharing moments with the people that mean the most to us.
Do the things at the holidays that you have a real connection with. My friend Rachel gets together with her friends and make gifts, decorations and more each year. They get together over food and a bottle of wine and spend real “girlfriend” time together, while saving money on gifts. I hate cooking, but love baking and make it a point to make my “famous” French Coffee Cake to bring with me as a gift when we’re invited to parties over the holidays. I enjoy the creative aspect of baking and ALL of the guests enjoy it (and I save money on expensive hostess gifts).
It’s not a dirty word. I budget my gift giving by picking unusual items up on my travels during the year, so I’m not hit head on with having to spend a fortune in December. Other friends of mine put a little aside each month so they don’t have that holiday hangover debt. SunTrust Bank offers a FREE Holiday budget spreadsheet that can be used to help you gain control over holiday spending and take the stress out of the season.
Suntrust offers great tips for saving throughout the holidays on their site: Suntrust.com
It’s about depositing hope, instead of checks. And withdrawing stress, instead of cash. It’s about indulging in the currency of kindness and giving more than you receipt. Because the things that mean the most to you, are well within your means.
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well-being. They want to help you reduce holiday stress through tools, advice, and inspiration that encourages you to make your holidays meaningful by spending within your means and focusing on meaningful experiences.
To get started visit suntrust.com/holiday
Meaningful spending made easy with a budgeting tool to help you make a plan and stay on track with your holiday spending. Download here.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.