It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? While the holiday season can be a great time to spend time with loved ones, decorate for Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, and shop for the perfect gift, it’s easy to get stressed out. Whether it’s your holiday budget or something else causing the stress, sometimes you may feel more like the Grinch than Buddy the Elf.
Keep reading to learn how to get ready for this year’s holiday season -- and how an Armed Forces Bank Access Loan* could even help.
1. Create a Holiday Budget
Having a budget is important all year round, but the holidays are one time when it’s easy to feel like your spending is getting out of control.
In fact, a Marcus by Goldman Sachs study showed that 50% of Americans find the holidays the most financially stressful time of the year. Between giving gifts, holiday meals and parties, and traveling -- especially for those stationed away from their families --– it can really add up. If you haven’t planned for these holiday expenses, it can really feel like your wallet is taking a huge hit.
Creating a holiday budget can be a great way to ensure you’re spending an amount you feel comfortable with and to help maintain that sense of control. And you may be able to find ways to save on holiday expenses.
Remember: a thoughtful gift can be worth a lot more than an expensive gift. Luckily, a good thoughtful gift can be done in a variety of ways -- for example, homemade gifts can be great options for grandparents, teachers, or other valued relationships in our lives.
2. Shop Early
Remember last holiday season, when everyone was telling you to shop early
? Supply chain issues plagued almost every industry, making it hard to find items in stock, especially for the things most often on peoples’ wish lists. While the situation may not be quite as extreme this year, starting your shopping early is a great way to reduce holiday stress.
For example, let’s say you find the perfect gift… but today is December 14, which means there’s just over a week until Christmas. Shipping delays or out-of-stock items can put a damper on that Christmas morning joy if the item you ordered hasn’t arrived yet. If you’d placed your order on December 4, on the other hand, Christmas morning could be smooth sailing.
But if you get your shopping out of the way early, you’ll be able to enjoy the last few weeks of the holiday season without the added stress of thinking about what gifts you still need to buy. It also can spread the expense of the gift purchasing out over a longer period of time.
3. Prioritize Your Traditions
We all know that social media can put a lot of pressure on us. Sometimes, it seems like everyone else has their “perfect” lives on display, which can make us feel like we need to do the same.
This pressure only increases during the holidays. Kids getting their pictures taken with Santa. Holiday light displays with the family. A cold trek in the snow to cut down the perfect Christmas tree.
You may start to feel like you need to do all those things, too, to project your image of perfection into the world. But how will you fit all those things into your busy schedule -- between the holiday party on base, your son’s choir concert, and your daughter’s winter play? Oh, and not to mention, making enough cookies for all the teachers at your kids’ school?
Remember that it’s OK to pass on certain holiday traditions if they’re causing you more stress than holiday cheer. Prioritize the ones that are most important to you and truly make you and your family happy.
4. Get the Cash You Need with an Armed Forces Bank Access Loan*
At Armed Forces Bank, we are committed to serving those who serve. Our Access Loan* gives our military community access to the funding you need with a fast and easy approval process. This personal military loan has flexible credit options for Armed Forces Bank clients as well as active duty or retired military borrowers with less than perfect credit.
Features of the Armed Forces Bank Access Loan include:
- Expanded credit options for existing Armed Forces Bank clients
- Credit options for borrowers with little or no credit history
- Fixed terms and monthly payments to simplify your budget
- Automated payments so you'll never miss one
How does the Access Loan work?
- Apply online in just minutes
- See instant-approval status
- Receive and accept the loan offer
- Get quick access to the money in an Armed Forces Bank account
If you are already an Armed Forces Bank client your loan will be deposited directly to your account. If you are new to Armed Forces Bank, a new Access checking account will be set up first and then your loan proceeds will be deposited there.
Armed Forces Bank Wishes You Happy and Healthy Holidays
No matter what holidays your family observes, and no matter where you are in the world, Armed Forces Bank is working hard to help you celebrate. If you’re looking for a partner in your personal finance journey, we provide convenient options for savings accounts, checking accounts, and more. We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!