January 8, 2019
How To Manage the Financial Strain of the Holidays in the New Year
It’s 2019: people are hitting the gym, watching Marie Kondo’s special and getting rid of items that no longer bring them joy, and are taking the time to learn new hobbies. January is often touted as a time where people find ways to recreate themselves, but there’s a familiar feeling that surfaces in January that is felt by many around the western world – the sense of financial strain after holiday pleasantries.
The Strain of December Takes a Toll on January
If you think gyms are more packed because of January, try being a therapist. During the holidays and the month after the holidays, therapy attendance spikes as people battle feelings of depression, anxiety, the impact of eating disorders, and more. And one of the most significant stressors during this time of year? The lack of money. While some think ahead and try to purchase Christmas gifts well before the holiday season, some do not. Pre-planning is not universal – as much as 53% of all shoppers wait until Super Saturday (December 23rd) to get their holiday shopping done.
People expect a lot during the holiday season, but bills still need to be paid, and emergencies always happen. For the average American, it is impossible to balance the demand of Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s with necessities. This contributes to mental health beyond the holiday season as well as to the heft of credit card bills.
But there are ways around the strain of the financial season. Here are some of the ways that people deal with the financial demands of December during the year and the season.
Take Out a Car Title Loan
Many people spend thousands on Christmas purchases each year, and for those who cannot afford thousands of dollars, credit cards often become an unwanted second option. In fact, in 2017 people with credit card debt before the holidays ended up adding an extra $1000 on to that debt. Purchasing all your gifts on credit cards is not always the best choice. Most people pay off this debt over a series of years, which hikes up interest on the balance and ultimately asks you to pay for way more than you usually would.
Instead, taking out a title loan gives you a lump sum of money to purchase gifts with. Use as much or as little of the loan as you want, but any way you use it, you pay off the loan much more quickly than you would a credit card. This makes big purchases a little easier by spreading out their payments and lessens the load your wallet takes from interest payments over a long term.
Make a Yearly Budget
This one requires forethought, and while it is something that you likely missed the boat for this year, it’s something you can get started on for next year. Take a look at what you’ve spent on critical people in your lives in the past year and come up with a budget per person. For instance, you might spend an extra two hundred dollars on your child than you do your spouse. Once you have this figured out, start saving. If you save and check off when you hit your budgets per person, you’ll be confident about spending money on them in the 2019 shopping season without overspending on their purchases during December.
Opt For a Few Handmade Items
Everyone has something they are good at. Even if you are not a particularly crafty person, you can find ways to make presents that people love and remember without stressing about the quality of the craft. Good at planning? Plan out a romantic date for a future event! It’s easy to make reservations without having to pay for the full amount of the event, print up an itinerary of activities, and come up with cute little ways to show a person they are in for a big surprise. Crafty folks can use Pinterest to come up with sweet and memorable gift ideas that are hard not to love. Great at cooking? Write up a menu for your partner or best friend complete with an “RSVP by” date. Planned trips or events are creative IOU gifts that no one is ever disappointed by. These type of gifts also give you time to budget better, and ultimately end up being more fun than the last-minute target bargain gift you could afford with the tag-end of your paycheck.
Declutter (and Sell Things!) Before the Holidays
Many people make it a goal to declutter after they receive all their Christmas or Hanukkah gifts, but this is not always the best option! In fact, trying to go through piles of old stuff you don’t want while trying to find places for the new things you just got can create a lot of chaos. Even worse, charity shops often become so inundated with donations in January that they end up throwing a lot of stuff out. Instead, choose to go through your old clothes, electronics, movies, and other items in October or November. Find things you don’t need or want anymore and list them on Craigslist or a sales app. You’ll clear up space for the stuff you get in December, save yourself the stress of organizing after the pressure of the holidays, and you’ll likely end up with a little extra spending money to buy presents with.
Have you hit most of the things on this list but are still experiencing financial stress after Christmas 2018? You’re not alone, and Mid-South Title Loans Can Help. Just bring in proof of income, a title without a lien, photo identification, and your car, and we can come up with a title loan solution for your emergency needs. Stop in one of our Memphis title loan locations on 1680 Winchester Road, 4965 Summer Avenue, or 2798 South Perkins Road. Our Winchester Road location can be reached at (901) 346-1040, our Summer Avenue location can be reached at (901) 821-9211, and our South Perkins Road location can be reached at Phone: (901) 794-5460. Let us know some of the other ways you are taking the stress out of the holiday season in 2019!