Can you believe the holiday season is quickly approaching? Will you be traveling, hosting Christmas dinner or buying gifts for family and friends? If so, you’re not alone. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can bring unwanted stress if you don’t exercise, practice self care and set a budget! According to Country Financial’s Tim Harris “We do spend a lot of money on coffees, entertainment and things that may not be needs and that you can take out of your budget for a month or two to help you afford the things you may want for the holidays.”
This week he joined me for an interview to talk about setting a holiday budget. Tim shared simple tips we can all use to set a budget for ourselves and for our families as well. He dished on how you can talk to your significant other about money, and how you can get the kids involved too. Tim also shared tips on how parents can teach their kids the true meaning of the holiday season!
Watch Financial expert, Tim Harris of Country Financial share 7 simple steps you can take to help your family set a holiday budget during a recent interview with journalist and blogger, Candace Rose Anderson of the blog Candie Anderson.
How To Overcome Your Holiday Budget Fears
Candie Anderson: Can you tell us about the recent financial survey that took place? Were there any results that surprised you?
Tim Harris: “The recent Country Financial Security Index that just recently came out showed that there is a taboo topic in American households, and that is a little over 25% of them haven’t had that budget or finance conversation with their family and children.
In fact, one of the things that was most surprising was the fact that parents would rather go to the dentist or talk about the birds and the bees or maybe pay a speeding ticket than talk to their kids about money.
Luckily the holidays is kind of a unique time where expenses may be a little bit higher and you can easily bridge that gap and talk about extra expenses in your budget.”
How To Talk To Your Kids About Finances
Candie Anderson: As you mentioned it can be intimidating to talk to your family about finances, especially since expectations are so high and kids want gifts. How do you talk to kids about a topic like this?
Tim Harris: “The first thing to do is really sit down and determine what your overall spending goal is. It’s one thing to talk about gifts, but the holiday season is so much more than gifts – there’s potential travel that you may be taking, lots of food and decorations for different parties or the big family Christmas dinner.
You’ve got to have a holistic budget planning process for the holiday season, and then you have to have the meeting. You actually have to sit down with your partner or your spouse and work through those issues, and what you want to spend on and then you have to bring your kids along too. Talk to them about your family’s budgets and what you’re going to do this holiday season together.”
How To Teach Kids About Budgeting And The True Meaning Of The Holidays
Candie Anderson: How can parents help their children create their own gift giving plan during the holidays?
Tim Harris: “One of the unique opportunities about buying gifts is to actually have the child do that as well. Go through and write down the names of the people they want to buy gifts for. If they’re older and they maybe have some of their own money – how they can contribute to buying those presents.
If they’re younger and you’re funding it, one of the things we recommend is to use an envelope or cash system where you’re taking your kid shopping and you’re literally allowing them to take the money out of the envelope and buy that present. It shows them things they can and can’t afford. It gives them a unique perspective on the value of money and how much things cost.
Another thing you can do with your family, especially your young children (even your teenage children) is to determine a family in need through a charitable organization or a giving type tree. Go out as a unit and buy that gift for that child in need and deliver it back to the charity together and really understand the true spirit of giving in the holiday season, that way your family is impacted for many more years to come.”
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How To Stay On Budget This Holiday Season Easily and Effortlessly
Candie Anderson: My struggle is how to keep myself accountable. This year I’m putting myself on a budget. I know I want to spend on decorations, going out, family, gifts – you name it. Do you have any tips you can share to help make this easier?
Tim Harris: “One of the tips is to say ‘Okay, I want to spend more here. What can I do or what expenses can I cut in my regular budget to be able to offset those incoming expenses from the holidays. We do spend a lot of money on coffees, entertainment and things that may not be needs that you have that you can take out of your budget for a month or two to help you afford the things you may want for the holidays.”
How Couples Can Set A Holiday Budget
Candie Anderson: How can couples approach their financial planning during the holiday season.
Tim Harris: “Again when they sit down together, they really need to have a written plan. One of the things we found in our survey is that people who have planned, over half of them were happier after the holidays because they didn’t have that stress of debt. Making sure that you sat down with partner/significant other and really determine what you’re going to spend that money and your budget on allows you not to have that stress afterwards.”
Where To Go For More Information
Candie Anderson: Do you have additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Tim Harris: “One of the things you can do if you want more information about the Security Index and budgeting for the holidays is go to our website: CountryFinancial.com.