It should go without saying that what people can afford to spend on holiday gifts is directly dependent on what they have. Or that’s at least what they should be doing. BUT … too many people go into serious debt with holiday gifts (or other occasions) because they somehow feel obligated. They spend months afterward trying to dig themselves out of the ever-increasing debt hole. DON’T DO THAT!
All that does is create stress during an already stressful time. Spending more than you can either because you’re oblivious or out of guilt compounds your problems. Financial insecurity around the world is one of the major causes of stress. You will pay both literally and figuratively. Your immune system will take a big hit.
As a worldwide society we’ve done a good job of teaching people how to spend money, but we’ve done an incredibly poor job of teaching people how to manage their finances. In partner relationships the big three stressors are money, sex, and parenting. After almost four decades as a psychologist, these three have remained constant when doing couples’ therapy. Even with individual therapy money often is an issue because few stick to a budget. The results are often disastrous, especially for the elderly.
So, what’s the solution? A holiday/gift fund is a great start. That way you can set aside funds gradually all year long. If you’re up against the wall now with the holidays, then some common sense will go a long way.
But really, the best solution is to manage your finances better and don’t overspend. You’ll be much happier and less stressed as a result.
Tikkun Olam- heal the world. Leave it a better place when you leave.