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Sticking to Your Budget During the Holidays

The holidays are upon us once again. This time of gift-giving and generosity is one of the happiest seasons. Sadly, it can also lead to a lot of stress, especially since Christmas is one of the most difficult times on everyone’s wallet. For those in recovery, avoiding stressful triggers is an essential part of guarding your sobriety and preventing relapse. Many people go overboard on their gift-giving, leading to money troubles down the road. A holiday budget is just what you need to avoid this pitfall.

Creating a budget for the holiday seasons can keep financial worries at bay. Plus, you can still give thoughtful gifts to your loved ones who have stood by you throughout your recovery journey. Here are some tips on how to cut corners and save money, eliminating financial stress so you can thoroughly enjoy your holly jolly Christmas.

Plan Way Ahead for the Holiday Season

Most people don’t start their holiday shopping until after they’ve carved up their Thanksgiving turkey. Christmas is the same time every year, so why not plan ahead? If you’re an extravagant gift-giver, keep the holidays in mind months beforehand. These pointers will help you plan your holiday budget ahead of time:

  • Start saving in January: Put money aside from each paycheck, so you don’t have to worry once December rolls around.
  • Budget for all your holiday expenses: Besides gifts, include other costs in your budget, such as wrapping paper, tape, food and drinks for holiday parties, charitable donations and travel expenses if going out of town.
  • Give yourself a spending limit: Give yourself a number you will not cross no matter what.
  • Make a shopping list: Brainstorm potential gift ideas and how much you think they will cost. Then watch for great sales throughout the year. You may find the best deals in the summer or on Black Friday.
  • Get a holiday job: If you’re worried about not having enough, many businesses take on extra employees during the holiday season. Part-time work is a great way to earn extra cash for your holiday gifts.

Be Smart About Your Holiday Shopping

If you’re looking to save money, that means you can’t just go to the store and spend willy nilly on any gift that catches your eye. Holiday budgets require care and consideration. The following tips will help you feel less stressed about money this Christmas:

  • Use a cash-only system, when possible, to avoid overspending.
  • Keep track of all your purchases. Even if something costs more than anticipated, it will help you make a more accurate budget next year.
  • Shop online and take time to comparison shop to find the best prices.
  • Add a few extra gifts to your shopping list just in case you forgot someone.

Affordable Gift Ideas

Extravagant gift-givers sometimes have a hard time cutting costs. Not everyone on your list requires you to spend heaps of cash. After all, it’s the thought that counts. Here are some affordable gift ideas that still show someone you care:

  • Journal with a lovely new pen
  • Whimsical scarf, hat or mittens
  • Cute, warm socks
  • Scented candles
  • Colorful tote filled with sweet treats
  • Homemade baked goods
  • New mug with some instant coffee or tea

Get Help Today

The holidays can be a tough time, especially if you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. If you’re ready to take the next step in your recovery journey, Gateway is here to help. Contact us today to learn about our evidence-based treatment programs, so you can start the new year with a new lease on life.

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