08 Oct How to Keep Money Fights from Hijacking Your Holidays

Trudy Jacobsen

The holidays are always meant to be a time of joy, giving, and…money fights?!

Even though we want this time of year to be as special as possible, arguments over money can hijack even the best planned holiday. Instead of being able to focus on what really matters, such as family, friends, and the joy of the season, you get trapped in money fights.

These fights, on top of the pressure already present during the holidays, can cause real stress to your relationship.

If you and your partner are concerned about financial issues this holiday season, consider these ideas for preventing money fights from hijacking your holidays.

Start Planning as Early as Possible

One of the best ways to avoid an argument about money is to start planning as early as possible. Sit down together at the kitchen table and come up with a game plan for the holidays. For example:

  • Do you intend to travel this year?
  • What meals do you plan to prepare?
  • Who is on your gift list?

Write all this down so that you both can remember all the details. Or, use a note-taking app such as Evernote that allows you both to create lists and share with one another. For instance, you could devote one note entirely to “holiday food.”

Agree on a Spending Cap

Agree on how much you both intend to spend on each person this year. Let’s say that you have twelve people on your gift-giving list. You could both agree not to spend any more than $30 per person. This helps ensure that costs stay within a reasonable limit.

Also, this prevents spending an overly large sum of money on any one individual. One great way to do this is by getting people on your list similar items. Socks, pyjamas, soaps, ties, etc. all can make great “bulk” gifts that simplify shopping.

Keep Your Receipts

Keeping your receipts is not just a good idea for making return exchanges. The practice is also a way to hold each other accountable to your spending agreement. Keep a file folder of all your receipts from purchases. Then, check in with each other about spending from time-to-time to make sure you are both on track.

If there is a concern, make sure that you both communicate about it and not let it slide. Consider the receipts as a tool for marinating an open dialogue about your spending habits.

Maintain Communication about Finances

Along with communicating about your spending habits, make sure that you are both staying on the same page when it comes to finances and the holidays.

If you are worried about your partner’s spending, talk to them about it. In turn, if they express concerns to you, keep an open mind and be sure to listen to them. Remember that communication is a two-way street and that being honest with one another, as well as listening to each other, is critically important.

Pay Off the Credit Cards Together

Once the holidays are over, there’s still the issue of the credit cards. Most likely, you are going to be spending more than you are used to each month. Sit down together when the credit card bills are due and pay them together. This ensures that you both know that the bills have been paid.

If you have a large bill and are unsure how to pay it, work together to come up with a solution. Consider contacting a financial professional if you both are really worried about your finances.

The holidays shouldn’t be a time of financial stress. However, many couples do find the holidays can wreak havoc on their relationships. You can avoid this by planning ahead and maintaining an open dialogue with each other.

When it comes to money, work as a team to achieve a holiday season that brings you close and fosters peace of mind. And if you would like help with being better about coming together on the same page, please contact me.