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All I want for Christmas

A guide on how to have a meaningful holiday season with none of the added money dramas.

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It’s coming to the busiest time of the year when both our calendars and bank accounts will be under pressure. While Christmas is a bit different this year because of the global pandemic, there will still be some expenses that add up.

It’s hard to control silly season spending. There’s a present for yourself here and a present for your mate there – not to mention the onslaught of work drinks, family dinners and Christmas parties – it’s very tempting to tap your credit card away!

But mindless spending can impact your future. It can get you into debt.

Here are some not-so-silly recommendations on how to make the most of the holidays while not burying yourself in debt.

1.Is the news worthy?

In Australia and New Zealand, the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years Day fall into the time frame of the “silly season”. The use of the term ‘silly season’ traces its origins to the 19th Century where ridiculous and quirky stories such as a vision of Jesus appearing on the wall or the Loch Ness monster made the news because it was typically a slow news cycle for journalists.

Now, there’s no shortage of breaking news in 2020. This year it’s an information overload of government grants, stocks plummeting and rising, Bitcoin prices, and what everyone else is stocking up from the grocery store. So we need to think critically if the news we come across is true or false, and it’s as vital to know if it will serve us or not.

Sensational news can mislead us and incite panic, and lead us to make purchase decisions based on fear. Toilet paper anyone? 

2. I got a good feeling

A lot of families cannot reunite for Christmas because of travel bans and restrictions, and understandably, this can lead to people feeling isolated and frustrated. 

Tony Robbins says how we feel about something that is entirely dependent on our perception of it. That is to say, bad things happen, but how we react to them – be it positively or negatively – is in our hands. 

You can reframe a lousy situation to become an advantage. For example, instead of saying “I don’t get to celebrate Christmas this year because I’m away from my family.” Say, “I get to prioritise my family’s health this year.” 

Imagine this, if you focus your energy on not being able to spend time with friends and family, you won’t put yourself in a situation where you feel good to improve your situation. You’ll likely feel lousy and try to find fun and instant pick me ups.

See also: #3 Buy now pay later programs

3.The problem with Buy Now Pay Later programs.

This type of payment plan method is popping up on retailer websites, and it’s tempting to splurge on a new dress for the work Christmas party or electronics during the Black Friday sales. These payment services are offered by both retailers and third-party providers that allow us to buy a product immediately and delay payment. 

According to a study using PayPal Credit, in the United States, 30% of PayPal Credit Buyers wouldn’t have been likely to buy without the 6-months-to-pay offer. Also, 30% of PayPal Credit buyers spent more than they originally planned.

The problem with Buy Now Pay Later Programs is that it taps into instant gratification and it makes shiny new items feel cheaper than they are at the time.

Instead of lay-bys where the goods are yours when you’ve paid in full, Buy Now Pay Later programs allow you to walk away with the goods without making any payment! 

Not a newsflash: credit cards are bad too.

4.Set before forget

This is not a fascinating tip, but it’s useful—schedule automatic repayments for bills which you may forget during the holiday season. 

There’s nothing worse than spending the money on frivolous things and realising you’re short for repayments or bills—added drama.

5.Basic

This year has forced us to pare down and realise what is the MVP to run our lives. That being said, we shouldn’t pressure ourselves and others to exchange extravagant gifts this season. There’s no need for it.

My suggestion is to give a gift that will make others realise the strength and joy within themselves. 

Tony Robbins says the gift of growth is incredible because it allows us both the privilege and the opportunity to give back by becoming more.

Why not give a gift of growth to yourself and others? A subscription to LinkedIn Learning, an immersive public speaking or business course or a meditation class is a meaningful gift.

Give the gift of growth to yourself by joining the ultimate financial literacy free course. Register now for free to join the 1-day virtual seminar, Masters of Wealth, featuring Robert Kiyosaki, Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi, Graeme Holm, and more on 28 November 2020.

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