Beating the Holiday Financial Blues

By Laura M. Frey, LMFT, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Family Sciences, University of Kentucky and Jennifer Hunter, Ph.D., University of Kentucky Family Finance Extension Specialist

Holidays are often an exciting time of the year. Spending time with family, enjoying time off work, and celebrating with family traditions are enjoyable activities. However, the holidays can also represent added stress due to the crunch on your wallet.

It is hard to look forward to a holiday, if you are worrying about how to pay for it. Have you stressed about how to provide a fun experience for children without breaking the bank? Decorations, gifts, and food expenses add up quickly.

When thinking about expensive holidays, people often think of Christmas. However, many other holidays can be expensive as well. For example, Halloween is the third most expensive holiday, after Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Although Halloween does not involve large gifts or family events, the costs of costumes, candy, and decorations can require big spending. To avoid this financial strain, it is important to plan for holiday expenses throughout the year and to adopt new, lower-cost traditions. 

Develop a Budget for Upcoming Holidays

One way to reduce impulsive spending is to develop a budget that includes clear expectations for travel, food, entertainment, and gift-giving expenses.

It can be helpful to budget for holidays that occur together. Several holidays occur during October, November, and December, leaving little time for budgeting. Combining holiday expenses for all three holidays together can make sure that you are not caught off guard.

Consider the following tips for upcoming holidays:

Thanksgiving

Christmas and Hanukkah