Here’s to a stress free, fun-filled holiday season!
Black Friday is here and the official start to the 2019 holiday shopping season! Consumers are expected to spend almost $1,048 on average per person this year, according to the National Retail Federation, up 4% from last year. How can you be a smart shopper and avoid breaking the bank?
Steve Siebold is author of the book “How Money Works,” and a self-made millionaire who has interviewed more than 1,300 of the world’s wealthiest people over the last 35 years.
Leave your emotions on the shelf
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the spirit of the season, but when it comes to buying gifts this year, leave your emotions on the shelf and let reason be your guide. This is when you must start using logical thinking in the decision-making process. While your spouse might really like that $1,000 necklace, is that really the smartest move if you don’t have the money?
Make a list and check it twice. Before you head to the store, make a list of each person you need to buy for, and allocate a certain amount of money for each of them. Don’t overspend by even a dollar. This is important because if you start overspending by five dollars here and 10 dollars there, it adds up quickly and you can easily go into debt.
The last thing your friends and family want is to see you go into debt, or further into debt. Remember, there’s no shame in telling people that this year will be a lean holiday season when it comes to exchanging gifts. People will appreciate your honesty and attention to your finances.
Don’t get caught up in the moment
If your shopping cart is overflowing, step back, regroup and make sure you can really afford everything you plan to purchase. While there are some good deals to be had, don’t fall for marketing campaigns that make you feel as if you’re getting a great deal when you’re really not (i.e. buy it today – pay for it tomorrow). The key is to be mentally tough to know when enough is enough.
Don’t pull out the plastic
Don’t even think of using a credit card unless you are 100% sure you can comfortably pay it off at the end of the month. The last thing anyone needs is to get hit with high interest rates and a blemish on their credit score. Ask yourself this critical thinking question: Would I rather have the short-term satisfaction of expensive material possessions, or the long-term results of financial freedom and abundance?
Learn from the past
Did you overspend last holiday season or some other year in the past? Remember how it set you back financially? Remember how bad it felt when you opened up your credit card statement and realized you couldn’t pay it all? Revisit that pain and how miserable you felt before you start shopping this holiday season.
Limit charitable giving
Yes, you read that right. Giving a little pocket change to support the homeless this holiday season is one thing. But until you’re financially comfortable yourself, you can’t give what you don’t have. While it’s certainly commendable that you want to help others, those who try and support every cause known to man but can’t afford to are doing more harm than good.
Make it a teaching moment
Your kids are watching your every move, so play it smart and use the holidays as an opportunity to teach kids how money works. Even parents who have failed to reach their financial dreams can still teach their kids important lessons about money during the holiday season.
Reducing Holiday Stress
The holiday season is so much fun for many people. However, for some, family get-togethers, holiday shopping, cooking and more make them feel stressed and anxious. Holiday stress is a real thing and it’s something that mental health professionals help their patients with as we head into December. How can you help yourself feel better?
Vinay Saranga M.D., is a psychiatrist and founder of Saranga Comprehensive Psychiatry (www.sarangapsychiatry.com).
He offers these tips:
One of the best ways to reduce stress and anxiety is to slowdown your breathing. When we are stressed, overwhelmed, worried or something is bothering us, our breathing tends to get fast and shallow. This actually makes us feel worse than we are already feeling. Focus on slowing down your breathing. Breath in through the diaphragm (stomach area), hold for a few seconds, and slowly exhale through the lips.
When you start worrying about preparing Thanksgiving dinner, shopping for gifts, or uncomfortable topics of conversation coming up with family you don’t see that often, practice mindfulness. This is the act of being present and immersing yourself in the present moment. It’s easy to dwell on the past and worry about the future, but being in the present moment is the best place to focus your energy.
Take a break
The holidays can be overwhelming for many people. It’s okay to take a break. Go for a walk. Take a drive and turn up the tunes. Hit the gym. Surf the web. Go to your favorite place and just people watch. It doesn’t matter what you do. If you feel your anxiety levels rising, take a break from what you’re doing and connect to something that makes you feel good.
Avoid controversial issues
There’s nothing like a heated debate over things like sex, politics or religion to ruin what should be a nice family together and stress you out. If a topic feels too far out there, or if you know that people have very differing points of views, stay away from it. Focus conversations around TV shows, movies, music, books, reliving memories and other fun and interesting topics.
It’s easy to get stuck inside watching the parades and footballs games, but getting some fresh air and a little activity can be good for everyone. Think of games to play outside. Go for a bike ride or a walk around the block. Watch the kids get involved in an activity. A little fresh air can relieve stress and holiday tension.
14. Comfort yourself
Whether you don’t like the family get-togethers or large gatherings just stress you out, be kind to yourself with the language you choose. Remind yourself that it’s only a few hours and you can get through it. Spend time around the people with whom you have the most in common or the ones who don’t stress you out as much. Remember to smile as this not only makes you appear to be enjoying yourself, it really will help you feel better.
Stay on your meds and keep doctor appointments
The holidays and long family get-togethers can be tough for many people, but even more so if you are suffering with a mental health condition. The holiday season is not the time to come off your medication. Remember to keep all doctor appointments and stick to your therapeutic routine.
Take a trip
If the holiday season really stresses you out that much, there is no shame in telling people that this year you are getting away and taking a family vacation. Going on a cruise, heading to the mountains or whatever you choose to do is perfectly acceptable. You are not being selfish by putting the needs of you and your family first and foremost.
I hope these tips will help you in your gift-giving and alleviate your stress-load this holiday season.
Thanks for reading this edition of The Badass Writer, with beauty, books, lifestyle and luxury travel news. Don’t eat too much, don’t spend too much, and we’ll see you back here soon to kick off December! Much love and…