The holidays are emotional times. We want to create Christmas magic, especially for our kids. They can also be times of great stress because many people spend money they don't have. They may skip bills in November and December or get themselves into debt each year. If this is you, I want to help you break this pattern. Don’t worry- I want you to love your life; but not at the expense of digging such a hole you could never get out of. So, the first thing I want you to do is to relax. Relax about money. In fact, I suggest you start some mind=-body practices such as meditation-daily if possible. You can’t fix a problem from a place of stress and worry. I want you to also know that your friends and family will still love you if you scale back on gifts. If scaling back is in your best interest for your finances, then that is the biggest gift you can give yourself. I also want to arm you with some real-world tips to help you navigate through the holidays.
Here are some strategies to help you prepare and reduce your stress over the holidays:
1. The holidays come every year (yes, really it does!), so start now for next year. Open a Christmas Club or a separate savings account just for the holidays. If you want to save $500 deposit approximately $40 per month or $20 per paycheck ($40 x 12 = $480) and get started now. 2. If you are not prepared this year there are still things you can do to make changes. First determine what your budget is what you can spend in CASH this year. 3. Make a list of everyone you plan to buy a gift, and assign a budget to them. Add up the estimated total, and don't forget the extras such as food, gift wrapping and extra gas you may spend for traveling. 4. We tend to go overboard for our own kids, so consider cutting back. We generally give them throughout the year and there are not tons of needs, mainly wants. Consider this as a plan to cut back for them: 4 gifts - A need, a want, a wear (clothing, coat, shoes etc.), and a read/game item. 5. Consider homemade or personalized gifts. Here is a good article about crafty item ideas https://www.diyncrafts.com/9351/homemade/100-mind-blowing-diy-christmas-gifts-people-actually-want 6. If you do charge some gifts get intentional about paying it off as quickly as possible. Make double or triple payments and pay off the purchases in full with a tax refund consider putting a chunk of your refund into your savings for gift giving (could also be for birthdays and other holidays as well) Small changes can contribute to big changes. Anything we put our attention to gets better. A positive mindset around it is also important. Forgive yourself for past mistakes with spending and vow to do better, and I promise your action will follow! If you need help with your finances, please reach out as I would love to help. You can also access my website for some free resources at https://bethblanco.com. I wish for everyone a stress-free holiday season.
Lots of love,
Ways to connect with me:
Join my Facebook group Money Minds https://www.facebook.com/groups/MoneyMindsbyBethBlanco