1. Your Money: Where is your money coming from? How much do you have coming during the Holidays? What do you need to spend it on?
3 pertinent questions that must be answered before we make any financial holiday moves.
Be careful not to spend promised or future money. Do not plan your holidays on “maybe money”. Make sure you know exactly how much you have coming in during the holidays. Base your spending on actuals. Do not base your spending on future monies, overtime or bonuses. Overtime can be cut just as quickly as it came.
Do not base it on your year-end bonus. You see how crazy this year has become; anything could happen with that year-end bonus. Take a realistic look at your income, and base your holiday on what you can afford, not on what you’d like to have or what you “think” may be coming in.
2. Listen to what makes sense, not to your feelings, or to advertisers.
The commercials are already here. Commercials are primarily based on consumer values, personality, attitude, opinion, and self-interest. Commercials target the love you have for your Family, Self-Improvement, your Lifestyle, or your Health. Advertisers spend millions of dollars on researching how to subliminally plant what they WANT US to WANT. How do you get around this? Simple; Don’t listen, don’t look, don’t indulge.
Don’t listen to your feelings. Proverbs 4:23 “above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”. Your feelings will take you places that will make you weep when it’s over. So, guard your feelings. Your feelings can’t be trusted. Your flesh wants what it wants. Stay away from commercials, they are everywhere you turn. You might be reading this right now with the advertisement of shoes you pulled up last week staring at you from the right-hand corner of your computer.
Don’t Look. Shut out the thought. You must look at the holiday season rationally. How do you come out of the season unscathed? It is irrational to say you want to save, and then go spend all you have. Don’t do it.
3. Make a list of what you want to do for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then, cut the list in half.
In a perfect world I would buy everyone I love a gift. In a perfect world I would love to purchase a gift for everyone at work. Nothing huge, just a gift to show I care. In a perfect world I would invite everyone I know to my home for Thanksgiving, especially anyone who doesn’t have family. I would cook up a storm, some of everything. However, we are living in crazy insane times. Far from perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” Not only must we be careful with our spending, but also with our congregating.
Our natural instinct wants us to fellowship with each other. The bible says “It is not good that man should be alone.” Genesis 2:18. We were born with the desire for comradery, to be with other people. We must be careful. We must ensure our safety by being socially responsible. If you are having Thanksgiving or Christmas gatherings you must be careful to gather with the family members already in your home, or those we currently see on a consistent basis. Don’t let your heart tell you to spend time and money on something you can ill afford to do. Your Space and your Money is very precious this holiday season.
Make your food list for Thanksgiving then, cut it in half. We normally cook too much anyway. Instead of invites, send out “Thanksgiving notes.” Tell your friends and family why you are thankful they are in your life. Be specific. Tell those you love how you miss them, and how you are praying that you can all sit down to a great meal real soon.
For Christmas, spend some money on beautiful elegant Christmas cards. (far cheaper than gifts) Write your sentiments to your family and friends. Tell them how you love and miss them. Tell them how you are counting the days until you guys can meet up. Tell them one or two things you miss about not seeing them in person. No need to apologize for no gift giving, they should know and understand if they love and care for you. Swallow your pride, do what’s best for your future. Lead with logic and not your heart. If you have children and just “have to” buy gifts, shop smart. Research. Do price comparisons.
Get what you can afford. Do not stress out or go into debt to get some expensive gift that will put your bills at risk, or you simply cannot afford. Don’t do it. If you are alone, see who needs help this holiday season. Share your time and your energy. If you have extra money, give to someone who has nothing.
4. Realize that you don’t know what will happen in the coming year. So, be cautious.
We have NO idea what is going to happen in the New Year. We have all these spectators and speculators telling everyone what will happen but, we don’t know. We don’t know what will happen in the stock market one way or another, with the job market, with the stimulus package, or with Covid. We have no idea when America (or the world) will open up again. We don’t know what the new normal will be.
The only thing we have control over is us. Our actions. Live on the side of caution for the next few months. Only spend what you NEED to spend. Put any extra money away. Vacations, that new couch, new clothes, new computer or phone, etc. Not right now. Let’s see how things pan out. SAVE YOUR MONEY. Pay your bills, and everything else needs to be banked until we can see where (C.O.C) Covid and Other Chaos will take us.
5. Pay in Cash. (Cash = Control)
You may be wondering, “Ok this sounds great but how do I implement plans to manage my Heart, Head, and Pocket this Holiday Season?”
One way is to put away your debit and credit cards. Make a commitment to yourself that you will not use credit in the coming months. Go to the store with just enough cash money to buy what you have prayed about, and planned for. Stick with your Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday list. Don’t take your cards to the store. Don’t take extra cash to the store. This will help stop the overspending.
Focus on your future dreams, not your current desires. You want to be debt free. You want that house. You want to save for retirement? Whatever tomorrow’s dream, it must always, every day, outweigh your current desires.
Pray before doing anything, especially stuff for the Holiday season. God is faithful and He is concerned about every aspect of your life. He wants you to be successful. Present to the Savior your desire to control spending. Ask Him to help you keep your word to yourself, and to your family’s future. Psalm 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
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