By Sheryl Kosovski, JCFS Financial Counselor, with excerpts from Karen McCall’s MoneyMinder© Holiday Planner
For many people the holiday season is a mad rush of spending too much time, too much energy, and too much money. We start the holidays with dread and end them in debt--- for months, we are bombarded with advertisements and peer pressure to buy more, spend more, and do more.
What happened to connecting with people we love? Celebrating the joy of being alive? The simple pleasures of giving? In order to make sure we enjoy the holidays we need a plan that includes how we want to feel and the experiences we want to have.
Having a plan for the holidays means understanding and being clear about your expectations and coming up with a balanced approach to spending your time, energy and money.
6 Steps to the Holiday of Your Dreams
Using Karen McCall’s MoneyMinder© Holiday Planner
Step 1: Examine Your History
The first step in creating a good holiday plan is to look at how you’ve felt about the holidays the last several years. This will help you determine where changes may need to be made, not only in your finances but in your whole approach to the season.
Step 2: Picture Success
It’s time to think about what is really important to you and plan out the perfect holiday season, which may not look anything like past holidays. Envisioning the perfect holiday means giving yourself permission to really consider what’s important and meaningful to you.
Step 3: Create Your Holiday Spending Plan
Now that you’ve envisioned a positive, new holiday, it’s time to make a spending plan that will help you meet your goal. It’s not a budget, but a vision-based plan based on what you want and what you need this holiday season.
Step 4: Balance the Books
The goal for a solid spending plan is to make sure that the funds you have designated for holiday spending will cover the expenses you’ve planned.
Step 5: Plan How to Spend Your Time and Energy
Minding your money doesn’t begin and end with finances. How you spend your time and energy is part of the whole equation. The goal is to plan things out so that you’re not going into debt on any of those levels and you’re taking care of yourself first.
Step 6: Track Your Expenses
Now that you have created a balanced plan, it’s time to record all the money you spend either by check, cash or credit card.
Now Enjoy the Holidays!
As the holidays draw near, if you feel the urge to pile onto what you’ve planned, try to remind yourself how much you have already done. Perhaps you might ponder the following positive statements to get back in balance:
- I am confident in the plans I have made.
- I am in control of my spending.
- I will maintain balance throughout the holiday season.
- I am excited about meeting the goals I have set for myself.
- I have done enough.
- I am looking forward to enjoying my holiday vision of success.
Now all that is left is to get a good night’s sleep and to enjoy the magic and joy of the holidays. You deserve it!
If you have discovered in reading this that you need help with managing your money, JCFS will be offering Generous support for this program is provided by Byline Bank and CIBC., a class to help you keep your finances in order throughout the year. Class begins January 10, 2019.