Let’s face it, the end of the year is full of fun, but can also put a lot of stress on your finances. Thanksgiving travel, holiday parties, gifts for friends and family members, New Year’s Eve plans – it’s easy to get caught up in the fun and festivities, but then find yourself feeling a “financial hangover” by time January rolls around. Here are some tips for making the most of your enjoyment during the holiday season without putting yourself into debt.

Avoiding A “Financial Hangover” During The Holidays




Adjust Your Budget & Stick To It

Even if you plan to be frugal, there’s pretty much no way around the fact that the holiday months will cost you more than other months of the year. But you can prepare yourself for the inflated costs during the holidays by planning ahead. Rather than scrambling to buy last-minute gifts or holiday outfit and charging it all to your credit cards, consider planning for the holidays ahead of time. Consider listing out who you need to buy gifts for and set a spending limit. Think about whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or any holiday dinner parties and how much you should budget for food and alcohol. Fancy New Year’s Eve plans? Estimate your costs for that too. Once you’ve estimated these various costs, add them into your budget and make sure you stick to your limits. Consider setting extra money aside each month in the time leading up to the holidays, so that when it comes time to spend, you already have extra cash on hand.


Avoid blowing your gift budget and giving yourself a financial headache by taking time to start shopping sooner rather than later – this will allow you to comparison shop, keep an eye out for sales, and give you the time to find less expensive but meaningful gifts


Put Down The Plastic

Holiday shopping usually means racking up your credit cards – which is where the headache of the January “financial” hangover comes in. However, if you budget and save money ahead of time to use towards holiday gifts and indulgences, you should be able to avoid using credit cards altogether. If you must use credit cards, try to choose one that gives you rewards points or cash back, and make sure you are able to pay more than the minimum each month so you don’t end up paying tons in interest as you pay off the balance.


Be Smart About Gifting

One of the biggest expenses during the holidays are gifts. Common mistakes that lead to overspending are not planning what to buy ahead, leaving shopping to the last minute (which can lead to abandoning your plan in favor of buying whatever’s convenient), and buying something expensive from a big brand name rather than something personal and thoughtful. Avoid blowing your gift budget and giving yourself a financial headache by taking time to start shopping sooner rather than later – this will allow you to comparison shop, keep an eye out for sales, and give you the time to find less expensive but meaningful gifts, rather than just caving in and buying something expensive at the last second. Bonus: you’ll avoid a real headache by getting your shopping out of the way early!


Have a Holiday Trip, Not a Guilt Trip

Don’t let your vacation put you into debt. If planning to travel during the holidays – whether taking a tropical vacation or visiting family – there are measures you can take to avoid over-spending. The holidays are almost always more expensive when it comes to hotel and airfare rates, so your best bet for saving money is to book sooner rather than later. This will allow you time to shop around online for the best prices and keep an eye out for sales. You may also want to consider renting a home or apartment on Airbnb, rather than stay in a hotel. Set a budget for things like activities and dining out and make sure you stick to it.


Say No

Avoid unexpected expenses during the holiday season by knowing your limits and staying within them. If a holiday party or activity comes up that will put you over-budget, you may just have to say no. Know your financial limits, and avoid social activities or purchases that your budget doesn’t allow for; there will still be plenty of fun to be had during the holidays and you’ll thank yourself later!

The holidays are meant to be enjoyable and a time for indulgence – and while you may putting on a few extra pounds or having a few late nights may be unavoidable, a financial hangover is. All it takes to avoid the holiday financial hangover is some awareness and planning ahead.

This will allow you to start January fresh and ready to tackle your financial resolutions, rather than playing catch up with your credit card bills.

3 Min Read

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.