It’s The Most
Wonderful Dangerous Time Of The Year
Do you find yourself worrying about money more than usual over the festive season? You’re not alone! It’s easy for Christmas to turn into a spending frenzy! No one intends for things to get out of hand. Instead, the season simply gets the better of you. First there are all those party invites, which blows your personal spending budget. It’s hard not to feel generous buying extra rounds and eating out more than normal.
Next, there are all the gifts you ‘have’ to buy [even for people you don’t really like!] It doesn’t feel like much, but $20 here and $50 there soon adds up into a chunky sum.
Then to top it off, enter the financial abyss that is ‘holiday extras’. Everything from a new dress for the office party, to a Christmas jumper, holiday food, alcohol, taxis home – the list goes on!
Before you know it, you’ve tripled – even quadrupled your monthly spending! And to manage the extra cost, you find yourself dipping into your savings, ‘stealing’ from your travel fund, or worse still – taking out a loan or loading up your credit card. Eek!
Christmas is supposed to be a time for love, fun, and good times. But if you’re not intentional, this ‘wonderful’ time of the year creates havoc with your finances – leaving you with something much worse than an alcohol-induced hangover.
A financial one!
I’m not here to be all “Scrooge-like”!
Instead, I want to share some intentional practices that will ensure your New Year starts out financially strong.
So if you want to move forward financially during the holiday season and not wake up reeling at the state of your finances on New Year’s Day, here’s how to stay financially sober.
- Stay intentional and align with your values
Your money can buy happiness if you allocate your income towards the things that bring you joy. An understanding of your values is key to this.
You don’t have to endure an expensive, highly commercialised Christmas if that’s not important to you. Instead, you can create a Christmas that feels good – without leaving your finances in an ugly mess.
It may be the party season, but you don’t have to break the bank! For example, if you value social time with people you care about, explore ways to hook up that don’t cause financial stress. For example, you can:
- Organise drinks at home before you go out
- Have take-out instead of a slap up meal
- Merge multiple parties into one big one
And if you’re not into partying, don’t feel you have to do it because everyone else is! It’s OK to say ‘no thank you’.
Don’t let Christmas take your eyes off the intentional living ball. You don’t have to let external pressures force you to spend money on things you don’t value. Instead, stay true to yourself and make financial happiness your priority.
- Intentional gifting
How much money do you spend on presents that recipients don’t really want or need because you feel compelled to gift?
Christmas has become increasingly commercialised over the years. Gifting is often seen as a must-do, but it can lead to financial misery. You don’t want another pair of socks, cosmetic set you’ll never use, or candles that end up at the op shop – and neither do your friends or relatives!
So don’t shy away from the conversations that can put an end to this unintentional, costly gifting. Instead, explore alternatives that won’t cause a hangover:
- Agree a no present rule where gifting feels like an obligation [especially where gifts are not your’s or their Love Language]
- Reduce the cost of gifting by organising a Secret Santa with friends and family
- Set yourself a budget to buy presents for the people you want to gift to
Whatever alternatives you consider, DON’T ALLOW GIFTING TO PUT YOU INTO DEBT – and don’t rely on your credit card either. Gifts are supposed to bring joy, NOT create financial stress. It’s worth the embarrassment to gift within your means – even if it is Christmas.
And if you want more money to gift in the future, start saving now! Work out the size of pot you’d like to have next Christmas, then budget to save that amount on a monthly basis.
- Enjoy conscious connection.
It’s easy to use money as a substitute for your presence.
We say we give gifts to show people we care, but often what the recipient really wants is your time.
Humans crave connection and love and the holiday season can actually be very lonely. When you’re rushing from one party or gathering to the next, you don’t find time for deep, meaningful connection.
Remember, you don’t have to spend money to show your love. Instead, your greatest gift could be how you consciously connect with people.
Have the courage to be authentic with your connection and create the gatherings in which you know you’ll thrive. If you love deep conversation over a quiet coffee rather than a rowdy nightclub, arrange that. If you’d rather trek through the forest with your besties than hangout at the bar, make it happen.
It’s the secret to less stress, happier times, and more meaningful memories.
- Create intentional rituals
Do you hate the rush to swap gifts on Christmas morning and the stressful round robin you have to do on Christmas Eve?
It’s easy to fall into the ‘shoulds’ over the holidays – even if they don’t bring you joy.
So this year, why not figure out how you want to mark this seasonal time.
How could you create new rituals based around your values? Just because things have always happened a certain way, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing them.
You can choose to do something different.
Make this year wonderful 🙂
The commercial world LOVES that Christmas turns into a spending free-for-all!
The reality is you can choose something different for yourself.
- You don’t have to gift – if you don’t want to [especially if gifting isn’t your Love Language].
- You don’t have to spend a fortune on alcohol and parties – if it’s not your thing.
- You don’t have to load up your credit card just to ‘save face’ and keep up with everyone else.
This Christmas, forget the must-haves and should-dos and instead, be intentional and live in the now.
Reconnect with your values. Spend your money in ways that create financial happiness. Take the choices which empower and energise you.
Not only will this Christmas feel ‘wonderful’, but you won’t wreck your finances either – ensuing you start the new year in a strong financial position.
Disclaimer: All information contained within this article is of a general nature. Do not rely upon it when making financial decisions. Please consult a professional financial advisor or planner (like us!) before acting.