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Personal Finance Mentoring - Integrating the practical and emotional elements of your money.

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A holiday spending plan

Megan deBoer

 Photo by  Caley Dimmock

Photo by Caley Dimmock

‘Tis the season of gift giving no matter your tradition…

It is so much fun to give - particularly when we find just the right gift for someone we love.  

One of the best strategies for to stay financially grounded during the holidays is to create a holiday spending plan… aka, a spending roadmap.


This time of year we are often pulled by our emotions and veer off our intended course. Having a solid spending plan makes all the difference - and prevents a spending hang-over, or a credit card bill from surprising you in January.

It isn’t as fancy as it sounds - if you have never made one before, it is simply a list of categories you are likely to spend on. With the amount you plan to spend beside it.

Total it up to ensure you will have the funds to cover all that you are planning. Don’t panic if it is more than you realized… you haven’t spent the money yet, and there is time to course correct. If debt has been an issue in past years, you are just seeing it before, instead of after.

A simple method is to use envelopes with cash for each category. Or use a fancier system to track the actual spending in relation to the plan. Whichever way you choose, it is so helpful in staying clear, conscious, and connected to your intention - and to end the year without any financial harm.

I find myself able to relax and enjoy the entire giving season when I have 'pre-spent' the money, giving us permission and 'guardrails' for our spending.

Spending money on gifts made me EXTREMELY anxious years ago, in part because we didn't have much to spend, but more importantly because there was no plan and it felt out of control - I am so glad that part of me has done a 180!


Here are some categories to consider using..

Decorations - Tree, Candles, Wreaths, Lights, etc.
Holiday Meals & Entertainment - pay particular attention if you are hosting, or attending lots of parties where you will bring wine or gifts for the host
Wrapping Supplies
Santa (if it applies)
Pet Gifts (I know... but for some people this adds up :-)
Charitable Giving
End of Year Tips (housecleaner, hairdresser, doorman, etc.)

If you find your funds not quite stretching to cover as much as you want to cover, consider ALL the possibilities!  The possibilities could include: exploring creative solutions (a lightly used toy swap with friends to be re-wrapped and newly loved by your kiddos and theirs) as well as lowering your expectations. As Erin Boyle states on her blog, "there’s no admission price to the holidays".  You can be in the spirit of giving without sacrificing your own financial wellbeing.  

If you find that while you are shopping for others your own intense desire to spend and buy for yourself, consider putting aside a little money for yourself before you go shopping ($10-$100).  Giving yourself healthy permission in advance can, in and of itself, prevent overspending. You can choose to spend it, not spend it, or give it away... but it gives you choice. And sometimes that is what we need the most.

Stay grounded… stay connected…and enjoy the spirit of this giving, generous season!

If you want a very sweet reminder about the joy of giving, take a peak at this ad from the UK - My daughters shared it with me - I highly recommend watching until the very end… so very good!

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