Change Your Thinking and Habits to Avoid Irresponsible Holiday Spending

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

It happens every year. You have the best of intentions to limit your holiday spending. But then you hit the stores and… BOOM! Out go your best laid plans when you remember another gift you really “should” buy or you see something positively irresistible…

The holidays are good at bringing out our inner child; and children are not notoriously good at responsibly handling money. Let’s approach the holidays in a mature fashion and discover a way to enjoy them without the binge – and the inevitable financial hangover.

They say the definition of “crazy” is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome. If you want to spend more responsibly, you’re going to have to change the way you think and act when in comes to the holidays. It will take implementing a well-considered plan, but it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the holidays. The goal is to enjoy the holidays responsibly – not deprive yourself of holiday joy.

Change Your Thinking

Start on these as early as possible. Refine and revise as necessary.

  • Reflect on and make a list of what makes the holidays meaningful and happy for you. It could be a special meal with loved ones, particular foods, activities, outings, traditions that bring back pleasant memories. Perhaps it’s the opportunity to give generously. Maybe it’s a once-a-year bash. Those things that make the holidays special to you comprise this “holiday essentials” list.
  • Determine an all-inclusive budget. Decide how much you can realistically afford to spend on the holidays. Remember to include the things you’ve put on your list. Food and drinks for a special celebration, tickets to a performance, a day at the salon to get glammed up for a party, airfare to visit loved ones… Holiday expenses aren’t only the things that get wrapped.
  • Think – really think – about who you want to buy gifts for. Notice I said “want to” to buy gifts for – not “should” or “have to” – but want to. Holidays should be a joy – not a job. As soon as giving a gift is an obligation, it’s no longer a gift. Remain mindful that YOU are in control of your money and the quality of your holidays. Make your gift buying list accordingly.
  • Give with the recipient in mind. Brainstorm on the interests of those who made your gift buying list. Starting early will give you a better chance of finding something that is really “him” or “her” rather than buying some generic gift out of clueless desperation. Check their social media pages – or their wishlist on a site like – for ideas about their interests and wants.

Change Your Habits

  • When you go holiday shopping, shop only for the holidays. You’re on a mission. It’s easier to stick to your budget if your regular expenses aren’t co-mingled with your holiday expenses. It’s surprisingly easy to justify or overlook a holiday expense when you “pick up a scented candle” while doing the grocery shopping.
  • Shop sane. You’ll make better choices when you shop at a time when the stores aren’t mobbed and when you’re not rushed or anxious.
  • When your list is complete, you’re done. Stop shopping. The stores won’t tell you that you’re done. In fact, they’ll try to convince you that you have “last minute” shopping to do up until the holiday arrives.
  • You don’t need more… anything to make your holiday complete. Step away from the candy canes, decor, ornaments. Those little extra expenses add up big and are rarely budgeted for.

Your holidays can be beautiful, memorable and affordable if you change your thinking and habits.

Bonus Tip:

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