It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is nearly here. For some reason, the shops and streets are full of Christmas bling very early this year. (Is it getting earlier every year? It used to be from 1 December, but this year it was early November when councils and shops starting decorating madly!). Anyway… over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing tips on how to have the best possible Christmas and not be feeling the effects and regrets afterwards.

Christmas is meant to be a lovely time of year but for a lot of people it can be a difficult time because of high or unmet expectations and the reality of relationships, past hurts, loneliness and tight budgets. We’re sharing morsels of wisdom from last year’s Silly Season workshops, starting this week with looking at money and Christmas spending.

Christmas can be expensive for a lot of people, but there is a way you can rein in your spending… You could create a spending plan and avoid the stress, anxiety, relationship problems and other unpleasant consequences that can set in after Christmas as a result of Christmas generosity.

By creating a spending plan you’ll make space in your mind to enjoy your other Silly Season activities, not to mention prevent many negative after effects.

Follow these tips to help curb your spending:
– Figure out what your pressures are that normally make you overspend – eg media, society, keeping up with other people.
– Find ways to combat those pressures – eg accept and be OK with your personal financial limitations (you don’t have to be like the Joneses); challenge your thanking/beliefs about needing to spend more than you can afford eg “I don’t have to spend a lot of money to show my love and appreciation for Maggie…”
– Find affordable alternatives: eg baking shortbread; make packets of chai tea; arrange a Kris Kringle with friends and family…
– Resist the urges to spend by reminding yourself of the positives for not over-spending, and negatives of over-spending.

Then…Create your personalised spending plan:
– Figure out how much you can afford (you may wish to include a reasonable credit plan here – if you decide to use your credit card)
– Don’t forget to include all the extra costs for social activities that you might be doing over the season and take into account if you’re not earning the same amount of money as you normally would.
– Consider how much will you spend on each person/gift
– Come up with a plan for when/how long it will take to pay off your debt (if you have decided to use credit)
– Write it down and put it on your fridge
– Stick to it!

Good luck with it! There’s nothing better than a stress-free mind – knowing that you have your spending under control and sorted

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