Have a Financially Stress-Free Holiday Season

Prepare Your Mind to be Stress-Free

I firmly believe that the attitude you go into something with, is the experience you will have, no matter the circumstances. For example: if you go to a holiday party fully expecting it to be boring and to have a terrible time – that’s what will happen?


Because that’s what you believed would happen, so your mind backed it up by finding evidence. It’s what our brain does. It finds a belief we hold, and finds evidence to back it up. From there, we build that evidence into a habit.

Why are we talking about our attitude when all we want to do is have a stress-free holiday season?

Because for you to have a stress-free holiday season, you have to believe that’s what’s going to happen. Then your brain will find evidence that that’s what you’re experiencing.

It will help, trust me.

Take it slow, and try to reframe the thoughts that you have. Instead of, “I don’t want to go to this event, it’s going to be so dull/boring/crazy/over-the-top/whatever, say, I’m going to have a good time at this party, no matter the atmosphere it has.” Then you will find it easier to have a good time.

Sound crazy? Try it, and you’ll see.

What do you need?

Notice I said need here. What do you actually need this holiday season?

Do you really need to spend another $100 on holiday décor? Can’t you use the same things you did last year?

Do you really need to do allthethings? Is there anywhere or anything you can cut out? I encourage you to look at this honestly, and be real with yourself. Yes, we want to do allthethings for allthepeople that we love. We want them to know exactly how much we love them.

But can’t we do that by spending time together, instead of hosting an elaborate party with imported goods and $100 champagne?

If you’re on a journey to have a financially stress-free holiday season, cut out the non-essentials.

Who do you want to purchase gifts for?

I remember the first couple Christmases after I got married. I bought gifts for everyone that I met everywhere. I was buying gifts for college professors, the mail man, cashiers, distant cousins, extended relatives… it was insane. I wanted to be generous, and let them know that I was thinking about them in a special and meaningful way.

Let me tell you, not everyone wants an overpriced scented candle for Christmas.

Sometimes, a card or note that you are thinking about someone is even more meaningful than a generic gift you paid $15 or more dollars for.

My question to you is this – who do you want and who do you need to buy presents for? Notice that you can still give to all those extended friends and family (and even strangers whom you want to make smile and restore their faith in humanity). But you don’t have to spend and spend and spend on those gifts. A basket of cookies, homemade with love and a handwritten note? Way more meaningful (in my book).

Write down the people you want to purchase gifts for by name, and then you can brainstorm an item or two to get them that would put a smile on their face.

Give Yourself a Spending Limit

How easy is it to go shopping, and each time buy another gift for a loved one? Then when you get home, you realize you have 7 gifts for little Timmy and only 3 for Johnny – which means you have to go back to the store and pick up at least a couple more gifts so Johnny doesn’t feel left out.

Then, you realize you spend $150 on Johnny and only $45 on little Timmy. Will they know the difference?

Give yourself a spending limit for each person, and try to keep each item about the same price.

Alternatively, you can articulate to your loved one as they’re opening gifts that they will be getting slightly fewer gifts this year because they had more expensive items on their Christmas list.

How will you be generous?

As you are likely on a financial journey (because you’re looking to have a financially stress-free holiday season!), it can be hard to draw the line between riding the wave of the spirit of Christmas by being as generous as you can – and finding the strength to say no so you can reach your money goals.

I would encourage you to think about ways you can continue to be generous, without requiring a financial commitment. Things you can do for people without having to pay a lot for them, I mean. Take a few moments to brainstorm that, and you will be more prepared than ever to have an amazing Christmas this year!

Break Unecessary Obligations

“But Sarah, I have to do this- it’s expected of me,” one of my clients said during a call. “Who’s expecting it?” I encouraged her to think. “Is it you, or is it your family? Does your family need you to do this thing in order for them to still love you?”

“No, of course not.” Was her shocked response. Whether you’ve volunteered to host an exorbitant holiday party with catering and expensive decor or not, it’s time to be honest with yourself.

There’s a reason you want to hold onto this obligation. Maybe it’s to impress your friends and family, to maintain status amongst them, or simply to feel needed, the obligation is coming from you.

Perhaps they ask you to host, and out of compulsion you feel the need to say yes so you don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

I’m not saying you can’t host any holiday gathering ever. I’m saying that if you feel obligated to do things a certain, (expensive) way, you have the freedom to choose to say no.


Nobody likes to talk about money (except me, but that’s because I’m a numbers nerd and find immense joy when one reaches their $$$ goals – even if its myself!), but I find the key to having a stress-free holiday season, is to be honest with those around you.

Now, I’m not saying they should know all of your biz and you have to talk numbers with them! But you have the freedom to explain to them, “Things are going to look a little different this year. I am well on my way to achieving some personal goals I’ve set, but that means I can’t do everything just like I’ve done them in the past. Yes, we are still having Christmas and our parties and events and such, but they’re going to look a little different this year.”

Now, hopefully because your family loves you and wants to see you succeed, that answer will be satisfactory to them and they’ll answer with a resounding, “I’m so proud of you for taking responsibility for achieving your goals! Absolutely, is there anything we can bring to help out?”

Get Yourself Some Support

I love to host people at our house. I love fancy holiday parties, and any reason to get gussied up and make my husband wear a tie (sorry, hunny!) or go out for date night.

My sister and I alternate hosting every other year, because we both have young kids and then one of us can get them to bed every year at a reasonable time.

Every time we host, my mom tells me, “You’ve done too much. This is delicious, but we only needed a simple meal.” And there’s always too much food.

Now, let me tell you, I never go overboard on hosting. I don’t overspend, and our monthly grocery bill is always on plan – whether we host several times a month or not. I reuse the same décor year after year – my kids get so excited when they see the Christmas story book come out on the shelf! It’s become part of our annual tradition.

But even hearing my mom tell me that we’ve “done too much” while we were still on-track with our spending plan, is so encouraging. I know that not all families are the same.

Support is so necessary to having a stress-free holiday season. If you know that your family will love and support your decision to not go overboard this year, it melts the stress away naturally.

If you are in need of more support, I encourage you to join my community of like-minded women, striving for peace and to break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle while enjoying themselves along the way! You can do so here.


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