This practical guide to navigating the holidays on a limited budget will help you enjoy the season while paying child support.
Every parent wants to make their child’s dreams come true during the holidays. The desire—and pressure—to delight them with gifts often intensifies, especially if you don’t see your kids every day. Custodial and non-custodial parents alike may find themselves struggling during the holidays. Parents paying child support have that extra financial obligation, and parents receiving child support may find that the payments don’t process as quickly as usual. This could be due to various reasons, including the increase in bank and mail holidays or because the non-custodial parent is working less. There are ways to make the season special without compromising your finances. We’ve compiled this list of smart tips to help you reduce holiday spending while keeping the spirit of giving alive.
Make a Budget
Create a list of expenses that includes travel, gifts, cards, and decorations. Divide any money you’ve saved for the holidays among the categories. If you find yourself stretched thin, consider downsizing the decorations or explaining to coworkers and friends that you’re focusing on your kids this year and won’t be participating in gift exchanges. Take out the amount you’ve set aside in cash and track your spending.
Avoid Expensive Travel
Unless you need to board a plane to see your kids, skip the air travel this year. Even if it means breaking a family tradition, you’ll save hundreds of dollars, which you can then use to make interim support payments or surprise your child with their most coveted gift request. Be honest with your relatives about your financial situation. They should understand that your kids are your priority.
Divide Gifts Into Smaller Parts
Let’s say you bought your daughter a new outfit. Rather than piling all the pieces into one box, wrap each piece individually, no matter how small. It will create that magical feeling of endless presents without requiring additional spending.
Wait for January Sales
While we don’t recommend this if you have younger children, teenagers should have no problem waiting until January for that new computer or gaming system.
Invest Time Instead
Instead of buying your kid the most expensive gift on their list, set aside an afternoon to bake cookies together, see a play, or take a hike. Having a fair holiday child custody schedule can help ensure each parent gets time with the kids.
Sarabeth T. Bradley understands the legal and emotional complexity involved in child custody, visitation, and support cases. If you need help negotiating child support payments, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call for a consultation at 985-888-1874. In addition to family law, we work in many other areas of practice.