The Healthy Balance: Maintaining Financial Health Through the Holiday Season

We all know the drill; we vow each year to spend less and watch our intake of food and alcohol during the holiday season. But the spirit of the season is very contagious! We gather with family, friends, and coworkers and share an abundance of food, toast to good health, a vibrant New Year and shop til’ we drop!

Like a bad cold virus, we all catch it quickly and the next thing you know, the holidays and parties are over, the credit card statements start arriving in the mail, the scale moves up a few pounds, and the New Year starts with the post-party blues versus the bang we all anticipated. 

Whether you can afford to pay off the debt or not, overspending and adding an angry inch to the waistline can take the pop out of the champagne bottle and leave the memory of the firework display to feel more like a dud than a grand finale.  

So how do you enjoy the holidays without having the pain of the after-party? One word, MODERATION! Like anything in life, moderation is the key. Regardless of income level, where you live, or your background, moderation is the key to maintaining your financial (and physical) health during the holiday season. A little preplanning blended with a few challenges can spark creativity, keep you on track financially, and reduce the stress of spending!  

The holidays entail loads of lists from grocery shopping lists to gift lists and from decorating lists to entertaining lists. Beginning with entertaining, create a list of all of the events you are planning to host and determine how many people will be in attendance. For example, if you are hosting Thanksgiving, make a list of all of the family and friends who will join and create the menu. Make the menu list as detailed as possible (e.g., appetizers, entrée, side dishes, desserts, beverages, wine, cocktails, etc.). 

Challenge: To keep expenses down, ask each individual to bring a dish, bottle of wine or specialty cocktail. Not only does this reduce the cost of hosting, but it also shortens your to-do list and allows guests to showcase their favorite dish or libation. Guests love to help the hostess and contribute to a memorable event. 

If you plan to host a holiday party, choose a fun theme and involve your guests. Parties do not have to involve massive amounts of food, nibbles and cheer are typically preferred. Host a wine and hors d’oeuvre party or cookies and cheer party. 

Challenge: Ask each guest to bring a bottle of wine, hors d’oeuvre, or a plate of cookies and set a limit on the amount everyone can spend on a bottle of wine. This is a fun, creative, cost-effective way to host a party, have tasty nibbles versus a heavy buffet, and host an evening full of laughter and cheer without breaking the bank (or adding inches to the waistline). 

Shopping and gift lists should include gifts for family, friends, colleagues, clients, teachers and hostess gifts. If the list is ridiculously long, reduce the number of individuals you buy for and ask family members to draw names. Family members will likely thank you for introducing this idea as many are in the same boat and would rather spend quality time with you rather than go into debt buying gifts. 

Challenge: Set a limit for the amount each person can spend on the gift and find ways to get creative with gifts. For teachers and colleagues, bake your favorite holiday treat and give a little to everyone on your list. The thought and time that goes into a homemade gift will go a lot farther than buying a gift card to a coffee shop. 

Partner up with a family member or friend and coordinate a day to shop together! Find a sale day, coupons, discounts or offers. Refrain from the temptation to shop for yourself or get lured into retail offers that encourage you to spend more to earn rewards. The rewards can be extremely tempting, and many are not valid until the New Year.

Challenge: Shop together and encourage your partner to only purchase items on the shopping list, share deals and cool gift finds, and see who can save the most. The one who saves the most money wins a small prize (a cup of coffee, lunch, or a baked goodie).  

If you start the season well, you can end the season well. Doing so will help you jumpstart 2020 and put you on the path to your wealthiest and healthiest year yet! 

I want to hear from you…. start a challenge today, follow me on Instagram (jodeebrydges1), and share the details of your challenge! Each post will enter you in a chance to win my book, Digging Out! 

Digging Out is available on Amazon. com.

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