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Don’t Let Holiday Spending Spoil Your New Year

stressed woman with shopping bags

Holiday overspending is a chronic disease in America and in the majority of the Western world. This isn’t entirely the fault of the people who go over their budgets. It’s easy to blame shoppers for being irresponsible with their resources, but there is a lot more going on than poor funds mananagement. There is a whole cultural component that becomes a part of our psychological and emotional makeup, which basically makes people feel obliged to extra spend on holiday gifts. But what has the shopping spree in common with health? … you might ask. Well read on and find out!

From the time we are born, we’re flooded with the idea of Christmas being a time of excess consumer spending. This spending is couched in terms of gift-giving. How much do your love your children, your spouse, your coworkers, your neighbors, your extended family? The appropriate way to express that love is by purchasing holiday gifts. For some people, holiday spending is not only a matter of good citizenship, but a matter of good humanity.

What we have come to realize is that many, if not most of the people who are engaging in this type of idealized, Hollywood-style Christmas is that they really can’t afford it. We’ve been sold a lie. And come the end of the year, the bill will be due. Here are a few suggestion for keeping that bill from becoming the catalyst to a very blue Christmas:
Be Aware of Your Addictions
Addiction and holiday stress make for poor bedfellows. Avoid mixing the two whenever possible. A person that has a problem with addiction should probably avoid holiday spending anyway. It is just too easy to get caught up in the holiday hype. You get a bit of a rush from shopping. For many, it triggers the pleasure center in the brain much like gambling or drinking. If you know you have a problem with addiction, you should avoid the temptation of overspending altogether.
A place like Reflections Rehab can help you with your drug and alcohol addiction. They specialize in helping people get their lives back on track after suffering the ravages of addiction. One of the things addicts are taught to avoid are the triggers that make them reach for a drink or a pipe. Financial stress is an obvious trigger. It is one of the things that drive people to drink in the first place. If you have trouble with addiction, find other ways to celebrate the holidays than shopping.

Be Aware of Your Work Situation
The last thing you want to do is burden down your credit card expecting to make regular payments from a paycheck that abruptly and unexpectedly comes to an end. But job loss is seldom all that abrupt or unexpected. There are signs that can be read by anyone who is even paying casual attention to the situation.
Workplace tension is a sign that things are not going smoothly. Pressure in the workplace is just one of the reasons why professional men abuse drugs and alcohol. And that is just one of many signs that things are not going well. We tend to ignore signs that our job is in jeopardy because we don’t want to have to face an unpleasant reality for which we have to plan. When there are signs that your job is unstable, you will definitely want to avoid exercising the credit cards.

Try Some Creative Downsizing
Maxing out your credit cards is not the only way to tell your friends and family that you love them. That said, there are still ways to join in on all the festivities, including the shopping frenzy if that is what really floats your boat. It just takes a little creativity and forethought.
The expense of the present is not what matters. It never is. The fact that you cared enough about someone to buy a present is what matters. You can get some wrapping paper and shop for items that are five dollars, or less. You can give your significant other a gift of this sort every day of the 12 days of Christmas. Then top it off with something you made or written–no credit card required. Good holiday memories, guaranteed!

Holiday spending does not have to ruin your season if you are aware of your addictions, honest about work stability, and use a bit of frugal creativity.

Happy Holidays!

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