Love & Money

Tackle holiday financial stress with 5 steps. Do the holidays differently this year – together.


Use this goal setting tool to decide on your financial goals for this holiday season, both individually and as a couple and then discuss them.

  • How similar are your goals?
  • Is there anything you should add or remove from your lists?

Once you have your individual and couple goals figured out, ask each other some of these questions about what you want – and don’t want – out of this Christmas.

5 Questions to ask your partner for a stress-free christmas

  • What’s one low-or-no-cost thing your family did during Christmas that you loved? Why did you love it? Is it a tradition you want to add or build from today?

  • What is important to you about Christmas? (the gifts you give, taking time off, being with loved ones, etc.)

  • Finish this sentence: “This Christmas, the one thing I want to remember is…” Where do you think we need to be more intentional this Christmas (expenses, time with family, personal time)?

  • What is a great cost-free gift I can give you this Christmas?


Create a spending plan that matches the goals and traditions you aligned on in Step 1.

  • Use this gift planner to decide how much you’ll spend on every person (including yourselves) and every spending event this holiday season.
  • The result? No impulse buys. No accidental overspending. No financial regrets in January.
  • And don’t forget…sometimes the best presents are those that don’t cost much or anything at all. Think about how you can use your personal gifts instead of buying gifts.

4 apps to make sure you don’t overspend this christmas

  • Truebill – This app tracks all your subscriptions (media, memberships, services) so you can see where you’re paying for things you don’t use.

  • Trim – It not only manages your subscriptions, but can help negotiate your cable and internet bills to find better deals.

  • Unrollme – Promotional emails tempting you from your inbox? This app helps you clear out the clutter—for real—with just a few clicks.

  • Retailmenot – It automatically finds sales and deals in your area and applies online coupons automatically to your digital cart.


During the Black Friday/Cyber Monday holiday shopping extravaganza, you might be tempted to spend more money than you planned. Here are some ways to avoid that temptation:

  • Unsubscribe from things you don’t need to be paying for right now.
    • Apps like Truebill and Trim® can help you find all of your current subscriptions so you can cancel any that you don’t truly need.
  • Delete any retail apps on your phone
    • While you’re at it, consider removing your credit card info – at least from sites where you primarily shop for yourself.
  • Block retailer’s emails
    • A tool like Unroll.Me® can help you permanently or temporarily block emails from retailers tempting you to buy stuff you don’t need.

Don’t stress about these changes. You can always re-subscribe, save your payment info, and download retail apps again after the new year. Pulling the plug now helps you avoid overspending this holiday season.

3 Podcasts to Keep You Financially Focused During the Holidays

  • The Love and Money Podcast – Of course! Join Rafa and Liz as they talk to expert guests about finances and relationships, give advice to real couples and blitz through the brand-new Lightning Round!

  • The Side Hustle Show – If the holidays are making you look twice at your budget, maybe it’s time to organize some supplementary income. This is your fast track to figuring out how.

  • Radical Personal Income – Want the ins and outs of money dumbed down and oriented toward specific goals? Joshua Sheats strips down the complicated talk to deliver concise, simple advice.


Planning, self-control and making gifts instead of buying them is all fine and good, you may be thinking, but I’m going to be spending some money this holiday season.
We get it. Here are some tips to help you save more money this holiday season:


Great, you have a plan, and you took steps to avoid being tempted by holiday sales. Now comes the most important part – following through.

Download an app like brightpeak’s Illuminate™ to sync your bank accounts and keep track of your spending. You can even create a budget just for holiday spending within the app to make it even simpler to stay on track this holiday season.

Conversations about money just got a lot easier.

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