The stress of the holiday season can be compounded with many families feeling financially strapped during this time of year as well. According to a recent Forbes survey on American holiday spending, over a third of respondents (36%) anticipate spending more this holiday season than last year. Food and festive meals will be one of Americans’ biggest expenses, according to 51% of respondents. “Buy Now, Pay Later” payment methods are a popular alternative to traditional credit card financing, with 40% of respondents electing to use this method for expenses related to Thanksgiving and 33% expecting to use it for holiday gift shopping.

Here are five quick tips from our HomeOwnership Center educators to shoring up your financial foundation to keep it going strong all year long.

  1. Review your health insurance and other benefits to make sure you don’t need to make changes for the coming year. This will help make sure you can cover any major unexpected illnesses or accidents, protecting your other savings.
  2. Review your budget and use it to help set healthy spending boundaries. Regular review will help keep your goals top of mind and make sure you know where your money is going.
  3. Protect your emergency funds. Research the best option for holding onto these funds long-term and letting them grow with interest. Keeping these liquid but growing will help in the event you need to use them but also ensure you are not losing ground if you don’t need them.
  4. Sell or give away things you won’t use this coming year. Buy-nothing groups are also a great source for second-hand gifts!
  5. Consider giving people your time this holiday season as a truly irreplaceable gift. Connecting to our loved ones and community helps to strengthen us all.