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.
What is a spending plan? Well - it is a map and a guide. You make one before you set out so you don't get lost.
Your PLAN could have the following categories:
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
Gifts - Write down the names of the people you give gifts to
Santa (if it applies)
Pet Gifts (I know... but for some people this adds up :-)
End of Year Tips (housecleaner, hairdresser, doorman, etc.)
Next to these categories you will put an amount you plan to spend. The hardest part, and the part we often resist,...
It is mid-December. We are entering the very height and frenzy of the season - shopping, errands, parties, performances, and celebrations (oh my!).
"More" and "extra" - more food (and eating...), more shopping (and buying), more running around (less downtime), more, more, and more becomes the constant mood and reality we find ourselves in.
"Finding your center" is something I discuss often with my clients. Because without tethering to our own anchor, we are easily - and readily - swept into the swirl.
In this swirl we are particularly susceptible to doubt - "Are there enough presents to give the kids?" "Do we have enough money?" "Do we have enough time to fit in .... (fill in the blank)?"
It is particularly daunting for parents. The line between what it means to love and be generous gets blurry. There is an overwhelming emotional desire to create a magical holiday - no matter the cost. Often there is an unconscious pressure...
The "Grocery Budget"...everyone seems to wonder how their spending compares to everyone else. "Is how much we spend normal"? "I should really clip coupons, (shop at ....., never eat again!)".
It fascinates me - particularly this one category. Because it is the one category that we all share - we all have to eat. And so, inside this category lies some interesting psychology.
Spending on food can be justified, excused, celebrated, or induce shame, or guilt ("there are people who go without food - regularly!"). Extravagance - even essentials - can create different emotional responses.
Sometimes a few extras slip into this category really add up. A magazine, a candle, a $7 snack for the kids to keep them quiet while you shop after school, more low nutrient food, produce that eventually gets composted from neglect. No one but you will ever know...
I had a client years ago who would berate herself monthly for how much she spent - but from what I see, it was...