5 ways to conquer the pressure to overspend this holiday season

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If you're feeling the pressure to overspend during the holidays, you're not alone!

More than half of Americans (56 percent) felt pressure to overspend last holiday season, according to an annual survey by SunTrust.

Two-thirds of those people point to gifts as a source of pressure, but presents aren’t the only culprit. Spending pressure also comes from festive food and drinks (29 percent), travel (18 percent), outfits for social gatherings (16 percent) and decorations (14 percent).

“Reducing the pressure that comes from all of these areas starts with being honest: with your budget, with your family and friends and with yourself,” said Brian Nelson Ford, financial well-being executive at SunTrust.

 Brian shared 5 tips to keep from overspending this holiday season, so that you can live and give your #bestlife:

  1. Embrace Real Talk with Loved Ones: Set clear expectations with your friends and family about how you will be spending the holidays. Communicate well in advance about what you can spend on gifts and how you want to spend your time.
  1. Make Your Own Holiday Wish List: Know what’s most important to you this holiday season – whether that’s hosting a holiday gathering or simply spending time with family. SunTrust’s survey found that 37 percent of Americans think the best holiday would be spent at home with immediate family, while another 26 percent would like no holiday obligations at all. Allocate your time and budget to what matters most to you, and be sure to voice your “wish list” to family and friends.
  1. Set a Budget: One smart step to reducing financial stress around the holidays is by setting a budget. But don’t just factor in the obvious items, like presents. Make sure to incorporate any festivity-related expenses you might incur, like gas for the car ride to your parents’ house or extra ingredients for cooking a holiday meal. And don’t overlook the smaller expenses, like ride-share to the office party or other line items that may be overlooked when creating your budget. While they may not seem like a major part of your list, they can add up. Track these costs so there’s no surprises at the end of the season.
  1. Spend Time, Not Money: Rather than spending money on presents, pocket the cash and instead spend quality time with family and friends. These experiences will allow you and your loved ones to create priceless memories that can last a lifetime.
  1. Experience the Gift of Giving: Instead of spending money on gifts your family may not need, consider giving it to a cause you all care about. You also don’t have to donate money to give back – put the money you would’ve spent on gifts in savings and spend time volunteering as a family. On average, Americans plan to donate $241 to charity and volunteer for 15 hours this holiday season, according to SunTrust’s survey.

Live your #bestlife this holiday season

Check out the Holiday Confidence Guide for tips on how to make your holiday season the most wonderful time of the year for confidence and good cheer.

SunTrust National Financial Confidence Index Poll

The SunTrust National Financial Confidence Index Poll, the source of the findings cited above, is fielded quarterly and representative of the U.S. adult population with 2,500 participating Americans of different ages, incomes and geographic regions. Statistics referenced in this release are from the poll fielded in Q3 2019.

SunTrust, a purpose-driven company, is leading the onUp movement to advance financial wellness in America. Through onUp.com Americans have access to free tools, resources and a community to motivate them to take steps to gain greater control and confidence around their money.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.