October 26, 2023
Now that we have turned the corner into fall, this is the time when one single decision can set you up for a more financially secure 2024.
Right now is when you can talk yourself into not overspending on holiday gifts and travel.
There is still enough distance between today and Thanksgiving through New Year’s overspending danger zone. Hatch a plan and make a solemn vow to yourself about how you will right-size your spending today, and you will be better able to avoid emotional and rash overspending when the holidays draw near.
Step 1: No spending that you can’t pay off in full when the bill is due.
I have zero patience for anyone who thinks love permits them to spend money on travel and gifts that will end up on a credit card charging 20%+ interest. Gifts are a want, not a need. If you can’t afford to pay off a credit card in full, then that is money that shouldn’t be spent.
If you can’t imagine not traveling to be with family this holiday season, your challenge is to find a way to pay for the travel without running up credit card debt. Is there some gig work you can do between now and then that will cover the travel costs? Or search for spending cuts you can make right now that will free up enough money to cover the cost.
Step 2: Say no out of love, not yes out of fear.
The gifts you buy are not why you are loved. I know deep down you know that, but you get caught up in other emotions that make you feel as if you are denying loved ones if you don’t give them a gift you purchase. You say yes to overspending from a fear of not letting down the people you love most. But do you really think they will be disappointed and judge you in a negative way if you don’t spend money on gifts?
Step 3: Get creative.
There are so many gifts that don’t cost a lot of money. Watching the kids. Committing to a weekly phone-free walk, or gabfest with friends. Baking something delicious. Or get your craft on. There are so many small projects you can dive into now to create a thoughtful gift that is budget-friendly. Got young kids? Involve them. Those are the gifts that will be treasured most.
Step 4: Be truly generous.
For a gift to be truly generous, it must be as generous to the giver as the recipient. As the holiday season draws closer and the marketing frenzy for spending kicks into overdrive, I want you to keep this in mind when you are tempted to spend money you can’t really afford to spend. When you are pondering a purchase, stop for a moment and ask yourself, “Is this generous to me? Or will it hurt me financially?”
I hope you are kind and generous to yourself.