The presents are tucked under the Christmas tree, and you’re taking a quiet moment this morning before the family holiday madness begins. You’re relieved that all the shopping is done, so you can take a breath and relax — at least for a few minutes.
But perhaps you feel a twinge of guilt as well. You love pleasing people and the holidays are a time for joy. The thing is, you probably spent too much, right? And put it all on credit cards. You’re a little afraid to add it all up — that’s a clue, right there. You’ll think about it later, especially when the monthly statements begin arriving.
So let’s agree to this: Give yourself a pass for now. Enjoy your family and friends and this amazing time of year. But also, make a little promise to yourself that next year will be different. And this time, you mean it.
Look, I’m a Certified Financial Planner and a former financial advisor. That means I’ve sat across the table from real people with real money issues and helped them figure things out. From wealthy families planning their legacies to retired couples struggling to get by on a fixed income. I’ve had the hard conversations — and the happy talks, too.
Here’s a plan. Meet me here a couple of times a week during the New Year. We’ll talk about the money obstacles you face, and I’ll offer some easy-to-understand actionable advice. No jargon, no Wall Street speak, no hidden sales agenda. And next Christmas, your financial situation will be vastly improved, I promise.
Now before you jump back into the holidays, let me leave you with your first money move.
According to the National Retail Federation, nearly half of us plan to shop after-Christmas sales in stores and online. Sure, you can snag some really good bargains. But try this: For any discretionary purchases you make between now and the end of the year, use your current cash flow. That means, if you use your credit card for purchases in the next week, promise to pay those charges off right away. So, if you buy a few things Saturday, go online to your credit card company and pay it off Sunday or Monday.
Or, better yet, if the purchase is made in person, use cash.
That will force you to make wise buying decisions because your purchases will be impacting your financial situation in real time. And you won’t be adding to your Christmas credit card debt. That’s guilt-free shopping!
Then, let’s get back together and talk later.