Having a holiday season without overspending sounds about as likely as having a piece of triple-fudge chocolate cake without calories. There's simply no way.
That may be true as far as the chocolate cake is concerned, but when it comes to the holidays, you can have your celebrations and afford them, too. All it takes is a little planning.
"But I don't have the time!" you say.
Understood. But ask yourself this: Would you rather spend time to budget now and enjoy debt-free holidays - or spend more time, money and effort to pay off bills in January and through next year?
"I'll think about it. What's the catch?"
You are. Meaning: you have to start catching yourself in the act of things you normally do unconsciously (like spending money) and start being conscious about them instead.
"You mean I have to watch every penny I spend?"
Not yet. Before you spend it, you need to plan where you'll spend it. And we've created a template of a plan that you can get right here. Here are some of the questions we'll ask you to answer:
"Bah, humbug! Where's the fun in that?"
Everywhere! There's the delight of discovering hidden bargains on the internet. There's relief in having friends over for a holiday pot-luck instead of a hosted party. Maybe you'll get creative and make your own cards. Or turn the comics into wrapping paper.
Watching your money naturally leads you to put more of yourself into everything you do. So don't be surprised when being more mindful also leads you to be more mirthful.
Real joy comes when you know that you have the funds to cover all that you're giving. That way, you can truly give generously and freely.
Of course, you'll track your expenditures along the way, to make sure you stay on plan.
"You mentioned something about the perfect gift. Where's my present in this?"
Right here. You see, we're talking about your holiday present because so many people actually spend a holiday future. They close their eyes to what they're doing now - and when they wake up - they have to face that unpleasant holiday hangover in the form of huge bills.
But there is a real present for you, too. It's the peace-of-mind you give yourself, knowing that you're acting out of integrity and fiscal responsibility. And that, as they say, is priceless.
So you see, it is possible to have your holidays, afford, and enjoy them, too. And who knows? When you start getting creative, you may even find a way to come up with a recipe for calorie-free chocolate cake!
Please let us know when you do!
Karen McCall is the founder of the Financial Recovery Institute and can be reached at 877-224-9933 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. This article has been reproduced with the permission of the Financial Recovery Institute.