Avoid The Holiday Season Financial Stress With These 3 Tips (And An App That'll Literally Save Your Bank Account)

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Juggling all that holiday shopping, dinner party throwing, and covering your entire apartment in a sea of glitter and string lights on top of your regular day-to-day routine can quickly turn the most wonderful time of the year into the most stressful…especially for your bank account.

It’s important to pay extra special attention to your finances in order around the holidays to avoid adding tension to this already hyper-stressful time of year.

I like to think that the stress comes from the desire to spread extra love during this time of year—and, well let’s be honest, that often equates to extra expenses. Especially if your love language is gifts (guiiiiilty).

While thoughtful gifting is a way of showing the special people in our lives just how much love, understand and value them - there is a societal expectation to spend a certain amount and do certain things. That pressure can result in laying out a lot money in a very concentrated period of time just because we feel pressured to do so.

Let’s chat my tips for avoiding falling into the stress-trap that can be the holiday season if you’re not mindful of your finances…

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1. Resist the urge to give more than you can

Wanna feel anxious STAT? Spend more money than you actually have (you know, like when every swipe makes you wonder if that debit card is going to hit you with a decline).

Two things you should do to break it all down -
A. Identify why you feel pressured to give so much. For me, I’ve noticed the busier I get, the more pressure I feel to shower the people I love with monetary gifts. It makes me feel like I’m making up for shortcomings in those relationships because of the quality time I can’t always spent with them. Pro tip: It doesn’t help anyone. Reconsider your approach.

B. Have an honest conversation with your usual gift recipients about your ability to give this year—especially if you feel like you’re compensating for instability in the relationship—so they know your scaled-back presents don’t mean you love them any less. Who knows? Taking the time to have that conversation might be just the quality time your relationship needs.

2. Become a better saver with Digit

The app Digit has totally changed my approach to finances. Admittedly, I’m AWFUL with money. My very fiscally responsible mom is always on my case and probably has suffered several ulcers at my mismanagement of funds. Digit analyzes your spending and automatically saves the perfect amount every day, so you don't have to think about it. Share what you're saving for and Digit does the rest. It can budget for your next vacation, pay off credit cards, or put money away for a rainy day. This means, you can actually set aside money throughout the year for the holidays, birthdays, etc. By the time the holidays come around, you’ll have already set yourself up for financial success and a little less stress.

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3. Think thoughtful

Sometimes the best gifts don’t cost a time. My number-one priority is finding gifts that show that I put thought into finding something the recipient will really love. Even better if it’s something that will improve their everyday lives, rather than just offering a fleeting moment of celebration (because who doesn’t love a good life hack?).

It’s the thought that counts. Instead of choosing something very expensive or outrageous, gift something that will make people smile and shows that you understand them.

Writing sweet cards, putting together a sweet DIY or framing a photo of your happiest memory together are all thoughtful ways to participate in the gift-giving tradition—without breaking the bank.