The season of Christmas brings with it a special joy that is welcomed by many after a long and difficult year. The twinkle of lights, the familiar melodies on the radio, and the aromas of the season bring with them comfort and expectation.
Yet, it’s very important that you have a plan to be intentional with your holiday spending so that you don’t end up with financial stress rather than yuletide joy.
We can help you find ways to be wise with your spending and still enjoy this season of giving. Follow this simple list and you will be well on your way to avoiding a financial “holiday hangover”:
- Make a budget. Write out a budget for what you can afford to spend, not what you want to spend. Be realistic with your financial capabilities. Make a detailed list of who you’re buying for this Christmas. Put a specific dollar amount by their name. Also, don’t forget that if you choose to celebrate the holidays with a trip or special party for your family, events like these generally require extra expense and should be part of your holiday budget.
- Have a list of wants vs. needs. It’s easy to spend money on the wrong priorities, especially around Christmas. Keep your items in two categories: wants and needs. Take care of your needs first, then see what money is left over in the budget. You may have to tell a “want” that it needs to wait.
- Don’t sign up for a guilt trip. Christmas might look different this year, and that’s okay. If you lost your job, don’t feel guilty because you can’t spoil the little ones. Often creative memories matter more than gifts. Read an exciting library book together, make up a story together, share a time of singing and dancing. Children will find joy in the smallest traditions. Don’t allow guilt to steal your ability to find joy as well. On the flip side, let your friends and family off the hook if they can’t afford to exchange gifts or travel to see you. Let’s choose to support each other and offer grace.
- Watch out for emotional spending. The holidays bring up all sorts of feelings. It’s the easiest time of year to justify overspending, because we’re in a celebratory mood. But there’s also a lot of stress. Don’t go shopping if you’re feeling lonely, feeling sorry for yourself, or you’re just plain bored. Also, if you think you want to drop a lot of cash on a big purchase, wait at least 24 hours before you make your decision to avoid impulse buying.
- Be on guard when you’re online. Marketers are smart. But remember, seeing the same ad over and over for that fancy watch you’ve had your eye on doesn’t mean it’s meant to be. Don’t let their target marketing knock you off your target goal of making your financial dreams a reality.
These hints will give you a chance to regain some lost ground, and do things differently. By being intentional with holiday spending, you’ll avoid waking up to an empty bank account in January.
If you have any questions about these hints or would like to make progress on your wealth-building goals, see how we can help today!