Let’s face it for some people Christmas can be a stressful time for families and so it is worth knowing what to look out for and how to reduce that stress.
For many parents the thought of Christmas is a frightening prospect. Already debt burdened parents are not in the mood for Christmas cheer. This traditional time of “peace on earth and goodwill to all”, can leave a financial hangover that causes such stress that it robs us of that peace.
The reason for this is that so many families live from day to day often playing catch-up with their finances. What causes a money crisis in the lives of many of us is when something unexpected happens. It may be that the car needs a major repair, or there is a period we are out of work or we receive an unexpected bill – sometimes it’s the cost of Christmas that pushes us over the financial edge. These things can cause us to go into debt that leaves us struggling for a long time afterwards.
1. Plan Budget & Review
Fail to plan, plan to fail. It’s not too late to start with a realistic viewpoint and budget accordingly. Work out how much you are going to spend on each person –and stick to it. Manage expectations as to what you or Santa can give.
2. Pay the everyday bills
Remember that rent, the mortgage, utility bills, food bills and other existing debts still have to be paid – and the consequences can be severe if they’re not. Even though it’s Christmas, get your priorities right.
3. shop with a list
Santa knows what he’s doing. Making a list is crucial for Christmas shopping. Checking it twice is optional, but that’s not a bad idea either. If you hit the stores without your Christmas list, you’re likely to overspend and impulse buying. Leave the credit card at home.
4. Distinguish Between a Need and a Want
A need is something you have to have, something you can’t do without, e.g. food, clothes and shelter. A want is something you would like to have. It is not absolutely necessary, but it would be a good thing to have. Often at Christmas we confuse wants with needs. What are your Needs and Wants?
5. Separated Families
For separated families try to make arrangements for Christmas as far in advance as possible. Negotiate a time on Christmas day when you can see your children, or compromise and see them on St. Stephen’s Day for your own special Christmas. -- Remember that if you are not able to see the children on Christmas day, you may be able to speak with them over the phone.
Don’t try to compete with your children’s other parent. Over-spending or trying to outdo one another will lead to disappointment and heartache. You could even come up with a budget for you both to spend on the children, and discuss what you plan to get them. This way, you will avoid competition - THE GOLDEN RULE IS PUT CHILDRENS NEEDS FIRST
find Christmas spirit
What exactly is the ‘Christmas spirit’? According to recent psychological study, the Christmas spirit has five components: craic, no responsibilities, ritual, shopping and little bit of dejection. Yes, sounds about right to me!
create happy Memories
Create a family memory and attend the GOAL mile event on Christmas morning in Portarlington, 11am to 11.30 at Port GAA Club – run, walk or jog while the turkey cooks. No registration required. Donate at Gate.