The 12-Step Plan to Stay In Control of Holiday Spending
Christine Chen | My Mind
The competition for your holiday spending dollars is more intense than ever before, with serious sales underway before you finish your sweet potatoes. You know you want to be as generous as possible, but you’re feeling a little stressed out by money matters.
The 12 Days of Christmas might be a holiday carol about what to give others, but flip it: follow these 12 steps to give yourself sanity this gift giving season.
Step 1: Figure Out Your Finances
The first thing is the most important thing. Set aside your required living expenses, plus a little extra for emergencies, to determine what you can spend this year.
Step 2: Make A “Short List”
Ask yourself who and why, and make a list. In the warm, fuzzy tone of the holidays, we all want to be more generous to everyone, but be realistic, and identify a “short list.”
Step 3: Create a Budget
Based on your finances and list, take a good, hard look at what you can spend and put it on paper before the credit card bill comes, and it’s too late.
Step 4: Do Free Research
Do some free, online research to see what kinds of items fall in your budget. If you have a specific gift in mind, cost-compare or make the most of many apps and shopping sites that can alert you when sales happen.
Step 5: Create a To Do List
Make a list of what you will need to get for the people on your “short list.”
Step 6: Schedule and Prioritize
Get an idea of what you need, and when. Which things require time and shipping? Make those a priority so you don’t go over budget paying for unnecessary overnight shipping.
Step 7: Schedule Time
Just block off time, that’s all. If you head to the mall, try to plan a trip during off-peak hours to save time and stress. If you shop online, block off computer time so you don’t destroy work productivity.
Step 8: Practice Stress Relieving
Have a go-to meditation practice or yoga pose that helps you get and stay calm. You might even carry some relaxing essential oils in your bag for on the go stress relief. Just about now, you might really need it.
Step 9: Shop
Whenever you planned to shop, stay on schedule and do it then. Remember to go back and check your budget constantly.
Step 10: Practice Stress Relieving
You probably need more of this after Step 9. Enough said.
Step 11: Review
Review your purchases before you wrap them up. See if you stuck to your budget, your list, and your plan. Make the needed adjustments, such as returns.
Step 12: Rest
This is important. Monetary and emotional stress is high during the holidays, and you need to recover. When you’ve made it through this 12-step plan, give yourself the most important gift of all: rest. Your body and mind need it for the happy celebrations ahead.