Next to politics, money is the last topic of conversation you want to have at the Christmas dinner table. Unfortunately, it’s hard to avoid chatting cash when breaking bread. It’s a naturally expensive time of year when most of us are spending more than we intend. When need help from a more financially stable family member (like mom) to make ends meet, the subject’s constantly at the tip of your tongue. If you’ve regretfully participated in disastrous financial discussions around the holidays before, you know you can’t talk to her over turkey. Save your entire family from that awkward situation by following these fool-proof tricks.
Don’t wait until you’re at the table to address your issue. Bring up the idea of shopping budgets before the holidays even begin. It might be a difficult topic to broach, but it’s especially important if you have a large family, and you’re expected to buy a present for each member. Suggest sticking to a modest budget, making your own presents, or testing out the first Secret Santa exchange. There are several Secret Santa apps available that can help coordinate the gift exchange, making it easy even if your family doesn’t live close.
Postpone the talk
You’re not the only one to find the holidays a financially challenging time. It’s one of the most expensive times of the year, and PwC forecast consumers will spend 6 percent more than last year. Your friends and family may be suffering from similar anxieties during the season. The same people you want to ask for money may have none to spare. They also may not have the patience that’s needed for this kind of discussion, so delay popping the question until after the holidays if possible. Let them know you want to have a conversation, and wait until you’re away from the dinner table to talk specifics.
Stick to a schedule
Don’t suggest talking about money like you would suggest meeting up for brunch when you run into an acquaintance. Get specific and choose a date and time that works with both of your schedules. This way you won’t chicken out on asking them for help, and the people in your life will know you’re being serious.
Search out alternatives
Though you may have the luxury of having friends and family who can help you during the rough times, not everyone has that support network. Take a tip from them and see how the other side expects to help themselves through the holidays. Many of these individuals rely on cash advances and lines of credit from online lenders. When online lenders offer quick and easy solutions, it’s a lot less awkward to apply online than to discuss money with your folks. See how these options differ from typical credit cards and other financial products to get a good sense of the alternatives that exist outside of your family.
Change the subject
Sometimes, the wrong person will bring up money. You don’t necessarily want to be grilled about your student loans, retirement plans, or career path with your second cousin twice removed. Learn how to avoid those awkward conversations by changing the subject. Don’t let their invasive questions bother you. Stay cheery and suggest talking about it later. And never think you’re above escaping to the kitchen to help the cook with the meal. It’s a great evasive maneuver that can get you out of a lot of conversations you’d rather not have.
During a tight holiday season, you want nothing more than to show up to your aunt’s house and eat the family meal. It’s not always on the docket if a cousin suggests eating out at a five-star restaurant to take the pressure off their mother. Don’t knock it outright. Respect your family’s wishes by suggesting something that works with their idea. Recommend a cheaper alternative than the expensive restaurant or suggest making the family dinner a potluck so as to take the onus off the host. You can always find a compromise that makes everyone happy.
The bottom line?
The holidays are a financially stressful time of year. Don’t assume you’re the only one affected by the added expenses of the season. No one wants to be reminded of the money they’ve spent to arrive in their seat around the dinner table. They want to enjoy their turkey and fixings in peace. Remember this as you shelve your question about money until after the leftovers are split up into Tupperware, and use these tricks to help keep the peace and hit your financial goals this holiday.