A lot of what I try to write about here on this blog is aiming to help young families like mine with their finances. I often relate some of the bad decisions that I or my friends make as young adults and share them with my readers so that none of you make the same poor choices. I imagine that it helps and that is what keeps me going.
As I write this post, the Holiday season is basically upon us. I am still working, but this upcoming week is my last one before I head off to visit family. This usually means that spending and shopping is in high gear. Last minute purchases are among the many desperate acts. Luckily, my wife and I don’t abide by this invisible script. If you are getting ready for the Holidays, don’t forget what is most important: family. That’s right, not thoughtless spending or ruining your budget, but instead spending time with those who matter most.
How to Prioritize Family over Holiday Hysteria
While it’s still hard for me to imagine why anyone would want to buy into the madness that creates so much stress and activities around this time of year, I also understand that people still do it. Unfortunately, it has a negative effect on your finances. Here are some tips for you to get you to that point of financial responsibility:
Create a Concrete Goal
The best way that I have found to motivate myself is to create a concrete goal. I don’t know what it is about goals that motivates me, but it does. It’s something tangible that can keep me accountable and stays on my mind as time progresses. If you want to limit your spending to $500 this holiday season, write it down and hold yourself to that no matter what.
Talk with Your Family
If you have a new goal focused around spending, share it with those closest to you. There’s a great article about the importance of talking to your spouse about money on the Wall Street Journal. This definitely applies during the Holiday season. It is extremely important to keep the communication line open. The last thing you want to have happen is to do your best to save while your partner goes off and spends all the money, expecting things are happening like normal. If this happened, it would be your fault for not sharing your new goals.
Make the Holidays about Family, not Presents
The best way to save money is to avoid presents altogether. This is what my wife and I have done for the past couple of years. We realized that Christmas was always about consumerism for us as we grew up. We didn’t want to continue this tradition and so we made concrete goals to eliminate presents altogether. Instead, we exchange cards and write letters to each other sharing our thoughts on the past year and looking forward to the next one. Not only have we grown closer, but we have saved countless money in not trying to out-spend the other person.
The holiday season is here. It may be too late to eliminate presents and improve your finances completely for this year, but maybe it’s time to start talking about what you will do next year and how that can help put your family in a better financial position.