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It’s so easy to get sucked into all the Christmas hype and before you know it you’re watching all your money fly away. Getting your shit together around money is ket to your mental health. Overspending can be an unhealthy coping mechanism and if you’re spending money you don’t have (credit cards) it can also be a huge source of anxiety. Here are some tips for staying on budget for the holiday season.
Set a Budget
Take it from someone who has been terrible with money in the past, you need to give yourself a budget. Figure out realistically what you can afford to spend and stick to that number. With all of the advertising around the holiday season, it’s easy to feel like you need to give over the top gifts but you don’t need to give every person in your family an Apple Watch. I’ve made a free set of PDF’s to help you figure out who you need to get gifts for and what your budget is. You can grab them below. Make your goal to give each person something thoughtful. If you’re looking for gift ideas check out my personal development gift guide.
Before you go Black Friday shopping write a gratitude list of what you have and are thankful for. One of the marketing tactics used to sell stuff is getting people to focus on what they don’t have. Practice gratitude throughout the holiday season and realize how privileged you are to be able to have the money, transportation, and ability to shop the sale. Get freaking pumped about how lucky and fortunate you are. If you’re in this mindset you’re a lot less likely to make un-needed purchases. A lot of impulse shopping that people do is to try and make themselves feel good in the short term. If you already feel good then you won’t have the urge to buy extra stuff to make yourself feel complete.
This time of year marketers have all kinds of crazy sales and deals hoping you will make an impulse purchase. Resist purchasing a bunch of extra stuff that’s not on your budget. It’s easy to grab a few small extra things here and there but those purchases add up and before you know if you’ve blown your budget. Whenever you go to the store have a list ready and only purchase the items on your list. Having a shopping plan will help you resist impulse purchases and give more meaningful gifts.
See if you can get your family onboard with cutting back at Christmas. My family is mostly adults so we do very minimal gifts at Christmas. It’s really nice because there’s no pressure to buy everyone the perfect gift and we don’t spend a bunch of time and money running around shopping. The focus of our holiday is hanging out together and making and eating a ton of food. See if you can get your family to agree to a ten dollar gift limit or suggest doing secret Santa so you only have to buy for one person. One of my friends families only buys books for each other for Christmas. Shifting the day away from gifts and onto spending time with family is a nice holiday tradition especially if everyone in your family is older.
Don’t put off shopping until the last minute. Trust me, it’s just going to cause you more stress. It’s a lot more difficult to put together a thoughtful gift when you’re in the middle of a time crunch. You’re going to be a lot more likely to run into a store and buy some overpriced thing just because you need a gift ASAP. Figure out who you need to shop for and what you’re going to get them ahead of time.
I hope these tips help you stay on a budget this holiday season. Having your finances sorted can really help you keep your mental health on track. It’s easy to get depressed if you’re spending too much money or to feel anxious if you know you’re digging yourself into credit card debt. If you’re looking for more holiday-related content check out my Holiday Mental Health Planner or December Self Care guide.
I am not a licensed therapist. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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