Christmas presents.Couples need to pair up, when it comes to holiday budgeting
GreenPath Financial Wellness experts

16 November 2016

As the holidays draw ever closer, you'll likely be dealing with gift giving in your family, in the form of actual gifts or maybe gift cards or cash. Those with spouses or significant others likely will have the added responsibility of getting buy-in or help from the other, when it comes to determining a budget for the holidays. So, as not to get hit with a credit hangover, when the bills come in early next year, here are a few tips GreenPath has put together, to keep everyone's holiday budget merry and bright.

  1. Open communication is key.  Most couples do have a routine time in the month when bills are paid and the budget is reviewed.  This is a good time to have a discussion about differences in holiday spending habits and financial goals.  It is important to come with an open mind, not blaming or finger pointing but rather focusing shared goals.
  2. Even if you are on different ends of the saving/spending spectrum, looking for common ground is important, when it comes to buying gifts. It will be necessary to look at your bigger budget picture: Wanting to take a vacation in 2017, concern that a vehicle may need to be replaced, wanting more in savings, addressing a neglected home repair are all examples of shared concerns and goals that will have to be considered.  Focusing on a plan to achieve those goals and making that plan a priority might help get you and your spouse on the same page.
  3. Some couples find it helpful to maintain separate checking accounts and have one shared checking/savings for shared bills and expenses as well as savings for shared goals.  If a shared account is considered though, it is important to consider what is fair, when it comes to purchasing gifts.
  4. It could be a good thing if you and your spouse are on different ends of the savings/spending spectrum!  If there is open communication, in a healthy relationship, this could be a really good system of checks and balances.  The saver will make sure that there is savings while the spender will make sure there is a quality of life.

So, make that list and check it twice! Remember to involve your spouse or signficant other, getting buy-in on what you'll buy this holiday season! A bit of discussion and list-building will go a long way in making this a great holiday season!