Monday, November 23, 2015

How to Stay Financially Stress Free After Holiday Spending - Guaranteed!

Sometimes we experience stress from surprising and unexpected events such as an auto accident or illness. Sometimes we willingly create circumstances that we know will lead to later anxiety and stress. Take, for example, our decisions about buying gifts for the holidays.

Holiday Overspending Leads to Financial and Emotional Stress That Can Last Long After the Tree is Gone!

According to a *survey of 1,000 parents with children between the ages of 8 and 14 years of age commissioned by T. Rowe Price in January of 2015, 62% of of those parents agreed with the statement, "I spent more for my kids over the holidays than I should have". 

This overspending led to a number of stress creating results including increased arguments with a spouse, a situation not healthy for the children or the parents.

The January Debt Free Solution:

So what are we to do? Is there a way we can stick to a budget that is realistic and yet still ensure our loved ones receive gifts they'll appreciate?

Here is what I recommend to make sure financial stress doesn't come down the chimney with Santa:
  • Look at your finances carefully and determine the absolute limit that makes sense given your other expenses. Write down this amount.
  • Make a list of the people you plan to buy for. Include any non-family members such as co-workers and service providers such as hair stylists.
  • After each name place the amount of money you plan to spend. If you want to add a specific item description (eg. X-Box), that's fine, but placing the allocated amount after each name is critical. Include the cost of shipping, holiday cards, and wrapping.
  • Add up the total amount you would like to spend for each person. Check that number against your agreed upon maximum spending.
If the total amount you would like spend on each person exceeds your budget, you have two choices: 

1) Cut the amount of money for each person across the entire list or by individual people, and / or;

2) Eliminate people from the list.

Make sure that, "It's OK to spend just a little more so people will love you" voice doesn't cloud your judgement. This voice is likely to show up as you're making the hard decisions about cutting. Acknowledge the voice and message, say, "Thank you", and proceed with the task at hand.

Once you have massaged your list and the amount you would like to spend matches your budget, take one more important action: 

Go to the bank and withdraw the exact amount of money you plan to spend. 

Purchase each gift with cash from a real physical store. If you're buying gift cards pay attention to the fine print. Some cards have specific time windows before the face value of the card is reduced or looses all value. Shop early and - if shipping is required - ship the gifts by early December.

Remember, once the allocated money is spent your shopping is done. Resist any temptation to use plastic or otherwise spend "just a little more on this special gift she'll really love".

Your Positive Results:

Following this plan assures you have zero debt in January. It also reenforces your positive self-image at the subconscious and conscious levels of mind as someone who is smart, money savvy, and decisive.

Happy stress free holidays!

Love and blessings, 


Stephen Carter
Stress Solutions, LLC

*Resource citation: T. ROWE PRICE: MOST PARENTS SAY THEY OVERSPEND ON KIDS' HOLIDAY GIFTS. Baltimore: November 12, 2015 press release:

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