As we approach the holidays, it’s a good time to get a handle on your money matters before all the retailers gets their hands on your money!
According to a study by the APA (American Psychological Association) 61% of Americans listed money issues as the top cause of holiday stress.
Taking ownership of your finances during the holidays will significantly reduce stress, and bring greater peace and happiness to your holiday season. Your happiness hinges not on what you make or how much you have, but on how you ‘handle’ what you have.
Here is a three step strategy to ensure that you put your money where the joy is this holiday season.
Take stock of what you have to spend your holiday money on. Make a list of who is on your holiday list, events you plan to attend or host, and any other holiday related activity (decorating, travel, etc) that will require time and money.
Then, set up systems for accurate recordkeeping and managing receipts. I like using a simple spreadsheet with everyone’s name, the budget and ideas I’ve collected. I use the spreadsheet to keep track of what I’ve bought, for whom, and how much. For receipts I use envelopes and write the recipients name on the envelope.
What is most important about the holidays? Take note of what really makes it meaningful for you and those you love. Then, set up meaningful goals to keep you focused on creating joy, not frenzy.
Perhaps you have a goal of paying Cash for your holiday expenses. Or of spending less than $1000.00. Or of giving gifts that simplify life for your recipients. Or maybe your goal is to buy everything online (my personal favorite!). Or, to be done with all holiday shopping by December 1. Be creative and set goals that you can really be excited about honoring.
Plan your spending
Based on your goals set a realistic budget. Allow some room to adjust for the unexpected, but use the budget as your roadmap to achieving your holiday goals.
I challenge you to write your holiday budget with a VALUES CENTERED approach that allows you create a wonderful holiday, regardless of your budget limits.
- First, list those things about the holidays you MOST VALUE. (things that lead to fulfillment)
- Then list the things you NEED to create an enjoyable holiday (that bring satisfaction).
- Then list the things you WANT to include in your holidays (that bring gratification).
Invest your money where your VALUES are first. Then put money toward your needs. And lastly, the wants. (many people do it backwards…wants first, then needs, then values –which usually leads to overspending and feeling dissatisfied and let down by the holidays.)
Make this holiday a memorable one by staying in control of spending. Don’t let holiday spending get the best of you. Imagine what it feel like enter 2007 free of any holiday debt or ‘buyers remorse’. I’m wishing you of a joyful holiday season!
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© 2006, Shawn Driscoll, Succeed Coaching & Development.