Truth Alert: Many women use the holidays as an excuse to engage in their favorite pastime – shopping!
Shopping until you drop often results in spending more money on items during the holidays than you would normally spend during any other time of the year.
Do you spend way too much money than you know you should - and not say a word about it to your partner? You figure you’ll deal with the overspending in January when the credit card bill arrives?
Or do you pay cash so your partner doesn’t know how much you really spent on that Kate Spade bag you bought for your sister?
Maybe you spend money doing the tried and true “mix & match” way. You put half the amount of the purchase on your credit card – and pay with cash for the remainder of the balance. (This way your partner doesn’t really know how much money you spent!)
Perhaps you don’t even realize how much money you’re spending on your holiday purchases because you truly get caught up in the spirit of the gift-giving season? And then even you are shocked when the bill comes due!
If you can relate to any of the above – chances are you and your partner are in for a huge blow out fight about money when it’s time to pay up!
So how do you avoid fighting about the amount of money you spend during the holidays with your partner?
3 Tips to Avoid Money Fights During the Holidays
Below are 3 proven & easy tips that will help you avoid fighting about money during the holidays – and when the credit card bills arrive in the New Year.
1. MAKE A LIST. Before you even think about spending one dime, make a list of ALL the people you and your partner want to purchase gifts for this holiday season.
Once you've made the list - stick to it. Do not add names as you go along.
While shopping, you may think about someone whom you would like to give a little something to during the holidays. Maybe your kids favorite substitute teacher.
Rather than making a purchase for this person who is not on your “all in” list you and your spouse agreed upon - get creative and make something for this person.
Bake a pie or cookies and present it to them in a nice basket that you probably already have laying around the house.
Or give them an old-fashioned phone call to let them know you are thinking about them and wish them a happy holiday season.
Believe me, everyone knows how busy people are during the holidays. People will appreciate you taking time out of your day to reach out to them.
2. CREATE A BUDGET. Don’t cringe. A budget is not a 4-letter word.
Try not to think about a budget as something that is controlling or restricting you.
The Miriam-Webster dictionary defines a budget as: “an amount of money available for spending that is based on a plan for how it will be spent.”
Rather, think about your budget as a tool that will help you track where your money is going.
Speak with your partner and agree on a realistic budget before you spend one dime.
Since you’ve already followed tip #1 in this blog – you’ve created a list of everyone that you want to buy gifts for. Review this list and create a realistic budget with your partner - that will work for your list.
I hear ya! Creating a budget sounds boring and can feel like a killjoy. But try to remember the holidays are really about spending time with people you care about – not giving each other stuff. (Sorry, but you know this is true!)
Remember, less can be more – really!
3. BEWARE OF IMPULSIVE & SALE PURCHASES. Marketers know exactly what they are doing. They’ve perfected the art of making you want to buy something that you a) don’t need and b) had absolutely no intention of buying before you walked into the store – or logged on-line.
Just because something is on “sale” doesn’t mean you have to buy it.
And if the sale item is for someone who is not on your list – do not buy it.
If the sale item is over-budget for the person you would be buying this gift for - do not buy it.
It doesn’t matter if the item that had Aunt Sally’s name written all over it is on sale. It’s not a sale if you never intended to buy it. And Aunt Sally will never know you walked away from a gift that was over your budget.
I’ve offered the above 3 tips as a way for couples to stop fighting about money during the holidays for decades. And they work!
Creating a gift list together with your partner -and then establishing a budget based on this list will, along with just saying “no” to impulsive & sale purchases, will go a long way to avoid money fights – before, during and long after the holidays.
Remember - it doesn’t cost us a dime to show people your love and affection for them not only during the holiday season, but also throughout the year!
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