Don’t Let Seasonal Stress Turn You Into a Scrooge


The holidays…a time of turkey, trimmings, travel, gifts, crowds, shopping, and, of course, spending. It can be a stressful time for military families, so here are a few ideas to help get you through the season with a smile on your face — and a few bucks in your pocket. Check out the video above for a quick rundown, or read on for full details.

  • Don’t feel obligated to buy gifts for everyone. Instead, make a manageable gift list of key friends and family and then another one for everyone else. And remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune to show you care.
  • When giving to others, don’t use a credit card to give yourself a load of post-season debt. Do make a holiday budget, stick to it, and pay cash whenever possible. Doing so prevents you from making costly interest payments and ensures you don’t get carried away (which, let’s be honest, can be easy to do this time of year).
  • More often than not there will be tons of sweet treats and other food available — and do enjoy them. Don’t, however, forget to keep yourself in shape.
  • When attending a unit function where alcohol is served, do be a good battle buddy and take care of friends and co-workers. And don’t overdo it on adult beverages, or drink and drive. Ever.
  • To save yourself some time, do shop online to get good deals and maybe even some free shipping. Just don’t do it over an unsecured internet connection.
  • You also don’t want to just accept an advertised sale price. You do want to ask if the retailer offers any sort of military discount.
  • If you’re travelling for the holidays, don’t book travel on expensive days like Christmas or New Year’s if you can avoid it. Do travel on “off” days and ask for military discounts on airfare and hotels. Also do consider Space A travel if you’ve got the flexibility.

So, remember: Don’t let seasonal stress turn you into a Scrooge — do get into the spirit of the season, be smart about your spending, and enjoy! For more tips for the holidays, including money-saving blogs, financial resources, and military-related festivities, visit


This story is presented by Pioneer Services, the military division of MidCountry Bank, which has provided award-winning financial education to the men and women of the Armed Forces for over 30 years.

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Pioneer Services is a paid partner of Military Spouse