Investments & Insurance
By Mindie Molina | Financial Advisor
Photography by MK Marketing.
It’s the Holiday Season! One of my favorite times of the year. What the celebration of Thanksgiving means to me: having a grateful heart, being around friends and family you haven’t seen in a while, enjoying your favorite foods, toasting to the many blessings of good health and happiness, holiday parties with colleagues, the joyful excitement of giving and receiving gifts.
Bing Crosby and Mariah Carey, Rudolph & Santa, your favorite knee-high boots and flannel shirts, and the beautiful glow of your Christmas tree in the morning while you sip your pumpkin spice latte. I just love it!
What I don’t love is looking at my bank statement when it’s all over. It’s so easy to get caught up in the joyful moments that it’s easy to lose track of your spending.
“Remember this; good money management is forward-thinking.”
Here are my tips to help you stay on track this holiday season:
1. – Look back at last year and the year prior bank and credit card statements. Look through them to see what purchases you made that you didn’t need to make. Look for consistencies in the last two years to identify areas where you may be overspending. For instance, certain stores that you seem to spend more significant amounts of money in that you usually don’t in other months. Stores or restaurants you seem to be visiting more frequently during the holidays. Now that you see where your bad habits lie, AVOID those places. Try to remember what you went for and what you ended up buying. The objective is to protect yourself from impulse and unnecessary purchases.
2. – Make a list! Sit down and make a list in order of priority. What do you need/want to buy? Now next to each name, list the item(s) you plan to purchase. Then list the estimated price for each item. Add the costs up and see if this is affordable. Go back over the list and make adjustments where you can. Maybe you can only give each grandchild $500 rather than $1000. Perhaps you can buy mom a $40 gift rather than $100. Keep reworking your plan (aka list) until it’s affordable.
3. – Use the same strategy for your holiday parties. From your dress to your turkeys, itemize, price it out, and cut the third bottle of wine if it means you can still buy the shoes.
4. – Implementation vs Impulsation! Impulse purchases come with two sensations: the sensation of “oh, this will be perfect,“ and the sensation of “how did I spend so much?” The only way to break that cycle is to implement a shopping strategy. Your browsing days are over. Your shopping will now be more like hunting. Keep your eye on the target. This item for this person/event for this price, or onto the next store.
5. – Online shopping. Strategy shopping is more accessible online. Search the item, find the price, purchase, and cross it off the list. You can have items shipped to the homes of family members to avoid traveling stresses around transporting more stuff. Plus, you’re not going to spend money on additional shopping costs like pumpkin spice lattes, eating out, gas, etc., by being out and about.
6. – Reward yourself. If you pull this off and are able to show yourself through your bank/credit card statements compared to the last two years, then have that reward list ready for yourself. Take advantage of the post-holiday sales. This will help you focus on the task at hand and not be tempted to shop for yourself or your house when you’re in stores.
A successful holiday season is an efficient holiday season. Be efficient with your time and who you spend it with. Be efficient with your love and who you show it to. Also, be efficient with your money and what you spend it on.
May God bless you and your family this holiday season with love, peace, good health, and prosperity