10 Ways To Get Mentally & Financially Ready For the Holidays
Learn how to cancel the tradition of holiday debt this season.
Written by: Myrna Lainé-Hyppolite
The holidays can be a time for joy and happiness but can also elicit some pain or discomfort for some. Whatever your situation, make the best of it by practicing the highest form of self-care, financial wellness. I want to set you up with a holiday game plan that will prepare you for the holidays both emotionally and financially. Here are a ten tips to get you holiday ready!
1. HAVE A MONEY GAME PLAN BEFORE YOU DO ANY SHOPPING. Write down the list of people you will give gifts to as well as your total budget. Before you start shopping, have your budget. If you have a budget per person stick to it, if you are shifting to increase one person’s gift budget, the other should be decreased. Stick to the plan!
2. PAY YOURSELF FIRST – make sure you set your savings and investing money aside BEFORE you go out to shop. Do not negotiate with yourself. Automate the process and make sure that those funds are not available to you for shopping and gifting purposes.
3. KNOW WHERE YOUR HOLIDAY FUNDS ARE COMING FROM. If you planned ahead of time and have a holiday gift fund that you built throughout the year, you are one of the few and deserve a big pat on the back. Most of us, however, don’t necessarily plan for the holiday shopping. If you have not planned ahead, review your budget and understand where you are going to find the money. Are you going to take it from your eating out/entertainment funds? Fun funds? Kids extracurricular? Are you getting a bonus? (Don’t spend it all on gifts). Know where your holiday funds are coming from.
4. VOW THAT YOU ARE NOT GOING TO INCREASE YOUR CREDIT CARD DEBT THIS SEASON. Do not increase your credit card debt during this time unless you can repay every single cent within a 30-day period. Shop within your limits. Give yourself the gift of being “debt-free”!
5. ON SALE DOESN’T MEAN THAT YOU NEED IT. That is the Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Holiday trap. “Oh, this is cheaper I should get it.” If you have it on your shopping list and it serves a gifting purpose, go for it. However, if you are just buying something because it is “on sale”, you may want to reevaluate this choice.
6. DO A GIFT EXCHANGE: If you have a large family or friend group, buying gifts for every single person can sometimes be a financial burden. You don’t have to buy gifts for your brother Joey’s 6 kids. Using a website like www.elfster.com, can help you establish gift wish lists for the entire family and randomize the gift exchange so that you can participate in the gift giving process without causing a financial drain.
7. GIVE THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING. Instead of or in addition to gifting “things” that have declining value over time, give the gift of stocks. Gifting stocks to your loved ones is a great way to help them build generational wealth. You can use www.stockpile.com to gift stocks or open a custodial account for your kids and let them pick their own stocks. Teaching your loved ones how to build wealth through assets is the gift that keeps on giving. Over time the value of the stocks should grow well beyond its initial cost.
8. REINVENT WHAT THE HOLIDAYS MEAN TO YOU. The holidays are not just about gift giving. For me, as a Christian, Jesus is the reason for the season, so spending time, being grateful for what I have, and sharing the season with those less fortunate can be important. Define what the holidays mean for you!
9. PRACTICE SELF-CARE. The holidays can be very busy but don’t forget to schedule time for you to recharge. Don’t over schedule yourself. Spend some uninterrupted quiet time with yourself away from the hustle and bustle of work and business.
10. HAVE FUN. Enjoy yourself. The holidays come around once a year. Have fun. Watch Hallmark movies, have baking parties, read the book you always wanted to read…just ENJOY YOURSELF.
About the Contributor
Myrna Lainé-Hyppolite has close to 30 years of experience in the world of finance ranging from corporate finance, private equity to investment banking. She is an ivy-league graduate with BA and MBA degrees from Dartmouth College. Ms. Lainé-Hyppolite has leveraged her finance knowledge over the years and is now the CEO of Empower Financial Wellness, a financial coaching company established with a mission to educate, encourage and empower individuals to reach their financial goals. As a financial coach, Ms. Lainé-Hyppolite helps individuals grow their net worth, find their money leaks, and learn the basics of confident stock investing. Join the Financial Empowerment Women's Facebook Group or follow Myrna on Linkedin. Her Financial Breakthrough Coaching Program can also be found here.