Christmas is looked forward to by the majority of the population as one of the most joyous celebrations of the year, but it can also become a massive source of stress and financial anxiety.
Year after year, the holiday seems to pop up out of nowhere, leaving many unprepared and ill-equipped to afford presents, dinners and parties. Neglecting to begin saving money and budgeting for Christmas earlier in the year results in incurring debt and spending money people don’t necessarily have in order to afford the festivities.
Domenic Mastromonaco is a credit counsellor with the Credit Counselling Society in Calgary. He stressed the importance of preparing for Christmas well in advance.
“That’s primarily what planning in the summer is all about,” Mastromonaco said. “It’s asking yourself, ‘how do you want to feel in January?’ Do you want to feel like, ‘oh God, please, I don’t want the bill to come,’ or do you want to remember great times with family that you spent during Christmas?”
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He suggests breaking down your Christmas list starting in July and saving a little bit each paycheck. He advises people to determine what exactly family members want and whether or not it is going to be feasible.
This will help to prevent the impending dread of the January credit card bills that comes when proper budgeting has not been implemented. It also allows families to focus on cherishing the quality memories they’ve created.
“Procrastination is part of human nature, I think all of us do it,” Mastromonaco said.
He acknowledged that the challenging recession facing Albertans may dictate holiday spending, but reinforced that realistic expectations and proper saving plans will help to relieve mountains of stress come Christmas.