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8 Ways to Ease Holiday Money Stress Before The Holidays Start

Wrapped Christmas present under the tree

One of the best things you can do for yourself financially is to plan ahead. Whether that means saving for retirement, financially bracing your family for a rainy day, or naming a beneficiary— it’s wise to be ready for the future. Make sure to prepare for yearly, seasonal spending traps. The biggest one is just around the corner: Christmas shopping.

It’s still early—meaning there are many things you can do today to ease financial holiday stress in December. Here are 8 ways to get started:

1. Come up with Gift Ideas Early

Early on, be thinking about what others may enjoy receiving as gifts. Keep a running list with you, so that every time you shop, you can check clearance sections for deals. Encourage others to share their wishes with you and others on a secure web site like CheckedTwice so that no one gets the same gift twice and wrong sizes are avoided. Proactive savers will even coordinate a Secret Santa gift exchange in lieu of the traditional gift-giving. This way, you’re not responsible for coming up with gift ideas for everyone in your family, office, or social circle. Instead, each person in a group is assigned another individual to shop for anonymously.

2. Anticipate Christmas in July

Another way to prepare for the financial pressures of the holidays is to increase your income in the months before Christmas. Shopping for others is a joy when you have a reserve set aside just for that purpose.

3. Offer to Babysit for Neighborhood Families

Be sure your rates are better than their regular sitter so they know you’re motivated to be their first choice. Let them know you probably won’t be offering such a good price once you’ve hit a certain financial goal, so they can plan to return to their standard provider in time.

4. Tutor Local Students

Not only will you be earning money, you’ll be investing time and energy into a child who needs your help. To get started, phone your local school and ask how to get involved.

5. Pick up Extra Hours at Work

If you already have a great gig, ask your boss for a few extra responsibilities temporarily to cushion your account for the upcoming holidays.

6. Sell Your Stuff

Instead of donating it, get creative. Go on online sales sites like eBay, Amazon, and Craigslist. You can even check out online yard sales. Not only will you bring in a few extra bucks, you’ll also be clearing out storage space for the gifts you’ll be receiving this season, too!

7. Offer Yardwork Services in Autumn

From cleaning gutters to blowing leaves—all homeowners are dealing with an inundation of fall outdoor home maintenance that they’d rather not have to do. While they spend money hiring help, you can make money for offering help.

8. Start Pet-sitting

If you have a fenced-in back yard, this may be a way to make easy cash. Most vacationing dog owners don’t like the thought of their best friend being locked in a small cage all day with just a few minutes of sunshine—so offer up unlimited playtime for about $20/day.

No Debt about It

Tackling debt before the holiday season is, by far, the number one way to ease stress. Whether you’re behind on payments, overwhelmed by the amount you owe to creditors, or just indebted to a friend for a few bucks—it’s important to stabilize the situation. Call a nonprofit financial counselor today who can assess your situation or check out our debt relief calculator today.

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