Tis the season when stores start playing Frosty the Snowman, Santa parades down streets on a giant sled pulled by Rudolf, and spending begins to spiral out of control. Whether you indulge in all the extra trimmings around a tree or not it can be an expensive time of year.
Many people find themselves after the holidays weighed down with extra bills and unnecessary stress from overspending. So, I wanted to share some ways to put the brakes on early, tips to avoid the temptation of overspending and stay on track with your financial goals.
First, Let’s Get to Know the Root of Overspending:
What are your spending triggers?:
Time of day
Environment – online, at the cash desk, mall, clothing stores, tech stores etc.
Here are 9 Ways to Put the Brakes On Holiday Spending:
1. Write Things Down:
Plan ahead and set a Holiday Budget of no more than 1.5% of your annual income.
List the names of the people you want to buy for and the dollar amount you plan to spend. Keep a spending diary and write in it everything you spend. Remember to count everything you spend on yourself, including those fancy coffees and Frappuccinos. You will see a trigger of feelings of lack show up if you cannot shop for others without always buying a little something-something for yourself too.
2. Find Meaning in Day-to-Day Life:
Daily gratitude is a great way to stay focused on what matters to you. Every day, list 5 things you appreciate that have nothing to do with material possessions or money. When you know what gifts you already have, you are less likely to need to spend money to get that dopamine rush.
3. Stop Shopping:
Don’t spend more than 90 minutes shopping at any one time. When you are tired, you are likely to make poorer choices. Set a timer on your phone to remind you to take a short break to recharge. Find somewhere to sit down, take a nice slow breath in and a long slow breath out.
Have a cup of tea or sit mindfully for a few minutes before resuming your shopping trip.
4. Remove the Rush:
Finding something new can give you a rush of dopamine. That thrill of “newness” keeps you scrolling through Instagram for hours.
Instead of buying that “find” as soon as you see it, walk away and return later. Some stores will put things on hold for 24 hours. You don’t have to wait that long, but if you still “need” it at the end of your shopping trip, go get it; if not let it go.
5. Plan Ahead and Pay in Cash:
Decide who you are shopping for ahead of time. Leave your credit and debit cards at home and operate cash-only. You have allotted a specific amount per person in your budget, so just take that amount with you on your trip.
6. Don’t Bond with Stuff:
Many stores will ask if you’d like a basket or bag for your items. They know once you start carrying them around, you get attached. The longer you hold them, the harder it is to put stuff back. If you see something you like, look at it and put it back on the rack or shelf until you are ready to purchase.
7. Sales People Sell:
Even when sales staff don’t work on commission, a customer-to-sales conversion is expected. If sales are low, hours are cut. If you wondered why you always seem to spend $50 in a store you just went in to get a $5 item, it is because the salesperson is upselling you - that is their job.
8, Be Creative:
The old adage “you can’t buy love, but you can buy something handmade with love” is true. My daughter crochets, and I love to see what she has lovingly crafted for each of us at the holidays. You might not be able to crochet, but can you bake cookies, arrange flowers, or cut out snowflake decorations? Try your hand at something with love.
9. Do Something Together:
Remember you aren’t the only one who is trying to stop overspending. Your family and friends might be relieved to do things differently this year. Consider suggesting forgoing gift buying altogether and sharing in a group activity. Perhaps a potluck party? Or what about giving yourself and your time to someone in need? You can gather to help at a food bank or soup kitchen or a myriad of volunteering opportunities that present themselves in person or online during the holidays.
Hopefully, these tips help you have a more joyful holiday season.
If you are looking for ways to live more authentically, I’d love to help you get started on your inner journey.
Click here to learn more about my coaching program:
If you are looking for ways to get more balance in your life, click here to do the Chakra Balancing Quiz:
If you aren't quite ready to book a session but still want to learn more, email your questions to: email@example.com.