For many people, Christmas lingers for months and months after it is gone. Marketers do an excellent job of making us spend our money on items we neither need nor want.
With Christmas a mere 4 weeks away, it is not too late to avoid the “January Financial Hangover”. If you haven’t planned anything, now is the time to:
- Prioritize: a short deadline will help you zoom-in on who and what is important to you. If you have a partner and/or kids, talk about what you want from the Holiday Season.
- Get creative, instead of spending money: if you have a talent for baking, cooking or for crafts, what about using it instead of buying prepared food and gifts? You can also donate your time.
- Buy your Christmas ornaments at the dollar store, or if you are creative, make them yourself.
- Send e-cards instead of paper cards.
- Skip the whole gift-buying altogether: This one can be tough. There is a societal expectation you “have to” give gifts for Christmas. I suggest the following experiment: ask yourself and your loved ones (partner, kids, parents, siblings..) what were their gifts last Christmas. I bet most of them -including you-won’t remember.
- Be honest: honesty is the best policy. If you can’t afford to spend money or don’t want to participate in a gift exchange, say so. Learning to say no is an important skill. Too often, people want to keep appearances and keep up with the Joneses. If you are doing this, you are not doing yourself any favor.
As I indicated here, I have no problem being a bit of a Financial Grinch over the Holidays. I have never gone into debt for Christmas and don’t plan to.