It’s the most wonderful time of the year. A time to celebrate the season of giving, to focus on what the holidays truly mean, to spend quality time with family and friends, and to share favorite memories while making new ones.
Yet for every jingled bell or decked hall, there are scores of Mississippians unable to fully enjoy the merriment of this festive season because of the financial stress the holidays can bring.
Results from a new Regions Bank survey show, indeed, Americans are entering this holiday season with money weighing on their minds.
The survey was conducted by Regions Next Step, the bank’s free financial education program. It found people are more stressed about money than they were last year.
According to the survey, 42% of Americans say spending money is the most stressful part of the season. Despite being stressed, results also show many Americans are not budgeting or saving for the holidays.
At the Leard household, deals on virtually every consumer product become more attractive by the minute. From Black Friday and Cyber Monday to the very last minute of Christmas Eve – the dash is fast and flurry-ous (minus the one-horse open sleigh)!
This season and all year long, Regions Next Step makes free resources available to help you meet your financial goals. Here are a few holiday-specific recommendations:
Closely track spending. Between gifts, holiday décor, family gatherings and more, holiday expenses can add up quickly. Regions’ Holiday Spending Plan Worksheet on regions.com can help you plan and track spending to help stay within budget.
Try D.I.Y. When it comes to gift giving, remember it’s the thought that matters most. Assess possible gifts to create from on-hand items –fill a spare picture frame with a photo or write a meaningful card. Consider other fun alternatives to traditional holiday gifts.
Watch for deals and discounts. Saving money on gifts can help alleviate holiday stress. Look for sales, coupons and rebates, and sign up for email updates from retailers for special offers.
Maintain a sense of awareness. Incidents of fraud and theft increase significantly during the holidays. It’s important to keep your guard up. We have information online to help protect you against scammers and thieves.
You can see more details at Regions.com/NextStepHoliday.The holidays should be a time of joy, peace and happiness. By setting a realistic budget, finding ways to save, and staying careful, we can minimize our stress and focus on celebrating the true spirit of the season.