A guide to staying financially fit this holiday period.

The holidays are truly the most wonderful time of the year in my books. I love Thanksgiving. December is my birthday month and I just get excited about Christmas decorations. I really would have my house lit up like the North Pole if I had my way…..much to the chagrin of my husband.

Finances are a big deal at this time of the year. There is Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Both days kick off the official holiday shopping season. The sales are huge at this time of the year or so we think (a blog post for another day).

I’m a firm believer that a person of excellence should be a good steward of all the resources at their disposal. This includes finances.

“If you use what you have well, you will have more of it. If you are diligent with your finances, you will end up creating wealth overtime.”

This is the time where we do most of our gift giving. I love it! The spirit of kindness and generosity is highly contagious at this time of the year. It is just beautiful! However, a little financial planning during this time of the year will help you to avoid financial disaster.

Here are a few tips to help you stay financially fit this holiday season:

1.      Plan your purchases wisely– You are probably familiar with the saying

“ failing to plan is planning to fail”.

Here’s why, planning guides you away from wasteful spending. Making a list of everyone and charities that you want to give to this holiday season will help curb any unnecessary spending.

  • Set a budget for holiday gifts – This works great because it puts impulse spending in check. I know from experience. You now have a set budget that you don’t want to blow.
  • Spend within your means – This is the crux of Financial Excellence: living and spending within your means. In other words “cut your coat according to your size”. Buy gifts you can afford. I saw this saying the other day…

“Don’t go into debt because you want to show someone you love them”.

When it comes to gift giving, purchasing what you can truly afford shows good financial discipline.

2.      Re-gift items – I don’t mean this is a cheesy way. If you are like me, you probably have several gifts that will be useful to a loved one just collecting dust in the attic. One year, a loved one mentioned during a casual conversation that she needed new chinaware. Well, I happened to have several new sets of new china complete cutleries to match in my attic. I received them as wedding gifts. Well guess what I gave her for Christmas that year. She was so appreciative and I knew she was going to put them to good use because those were items she really needed.

3.      Shop your house – One year my husband was given a lovely cashmere men’s winter scarf. He is not a scarf person, so it just sat there intact in the box collecting dust.  One day while decluttering the following year, I happen to stumble upon the scarf still in its packaging. I listed it on Ebay and it sold the next day. I put the proceeds towards good use.

4.      Give hand made items – I enjoy baking and cooking. I have friends and relatives that enjoy my baked goods. Usually at this time of the year, I do a bake-a-thon of sorts and give out lots of baked goods for Christmas. This might not apply to everyone. You may be good at arts and crafts or knitting. Making gifts might be a cheaper alternative to purchasing a gift, you should consider it.

5.      Trade – I have a friend who makes the most amazing soaps. I love hand-made soaps and I give them as gifts annually. My friend loves my Vegan Banana Bread Loaves. We swap hand made goods annually. This works well for both of us and saves us money.

Applying these tips as you do your holiday will put you in a better position financially. A little planning is all it takes. Your finances will thank you for it and you will be giving yourself a good head-start financially as you head into the new year.

I wish you a lovely and financially fit holiday season!

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