by Monick Halm
The holidays are a wonderful time, but they can do some serious damage to our finances if we are not careful! Commercials, print ads and those holiday movies and TV shows can put a lot of pressure on us mamas to make the perfect (in other words, expensive) holiday. Overspending and creating new debt is a common problem and always leads to some post-holiday hangovers.
Here are eight steps you can take to avoid that financial hangover and start the new year feeling financially fit and fabulous!
1. SET A BUDGET. Creating a comprehensive holiday time budget early in the season will be your best defense against overspending and impulse buys. Remember that financial solvency is a gift you give yourself and your family, and it’s worth more than the momentary pleasure of a gift or feeling like you have to keep up with the neighbors. To create your budget, write down everyone you plan to buy a gift for, no matter how small the gift may be. Include ideas of what to give each person, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to spend. Don’t forget to list the people who will receive holiday tips, such as your doorman, babysitter, and mail carrier. When you are creating your budget also add the little extras such as postage for Christmas cards, holiday favors and decorations, or the cost of boarding pets when you’re traveling.
2. DON’T FEEL THE NEED TO BUY EVERYTHING ON YOUR CHILDREN’S WISH LIST. Be clear with your children that you or Santa won’t be granting their every wish. You can’t buy your children’s happiness or love, so why try? If your kids still believe in Santa, help them draft real-world wish lists. In the post-Santa years, set some financial boundaries, and give them some choices.
3. SHOP AT SALES ALL YEAR FOR HOLIDAY GIFTS.Don’t wait until after Thanksgiving to start buying holiday gifts. Keep your eyes open all year round for items friends and family would like. It’s often when you’re not looking for something specific that you stumble across the perfect gift for Mom or your best friend. Once December hits, you’ll be glad that you already have some people crossed off your list. Just make sure to keep all your advance gifts in a designated (and hidden, if necessary) spot so that you don’t forget a purchase you made months in advance, and include these gifts on the budget.
4. GET CREATIVE. Make crafts or baked goods for gifts instead of spending money on store-bought items. Do-it-yourself gifts are great for family, friends and gift exchanges with coworkers. Also, instead of a traditional gift you can offer a service (e.g., baby sitting, walking the dog, or taking an elderly relative out for an outing) or donate to a charity in someone’s name.
5. AGREE TO LIMITS. Amongst friends and family you can agree to budget friendly gift limits. For example, among some of my best friends and our growing families we have agreed that we will not exchange gifts with the adults, but will just give gifts to our children. In my family, we have agreed to a $75 Secret Santa among the adults. Each person makes a wish list of gifts they would like that fall within that $75 price range. Everyone in the Secret Santa pool picks a name and buys for one other person gifts off of their wish list. This is much more manageable than having to buy for everyone and greatly eases everyone’s stress.
6. USE CASH INSTEAD OF CREDIT WHERE POSSIBLE. You might say to yourself that you’ll pay off the credit card after the holidays, but things happen and before you know it, you’re carrying the holiday balance into April. Don’t pay for unnecessary interest and fees on credit cards on items that you’re not even keeping!
7. CONSIDER SPENDING MONEY ON EXPERIENCES INSTEAD OF THINGS Studies have shown that money spent on experiences tends to create much more lasting happiness than money spent on things. Instead of buying lots of things for your family that will soon be forgotten, consider taking the family to see a show or on a vacation. One holiday we rented a cottage in Lake Arrowhead with the entire family and had a very special holiday there. Another holiday season we took the family to Las Vegas and went to see Blue Man Group. In the end, these experiences with you are almost always more meaningful than quickly-forgotten gifts. That’s money well spent!
8.REMEMBER THE REASON FOR THE SEASON. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, keeping the holiday’s spiritual message front and center is a good antidote to the holiday “gimmies.” Instead of spending weekends leading up to Christmas in the mall, it would be a lot better gift to spend your time with your family or bring your kids to do something charitable for others.
by Monick Halm
The most important factor for making, having, and growing money has nothing to do with techniques or know-how. Your money mindset has the biggest influence on your finances. In other words, how you think about money is the biggest determinant of how you create and treat the money you have.
The money lessons that you receive as a child often dictate your money mindset (for better or for ill). As a mom, it’s particularly important for ourselves and for our children to have the healthiest money mindset possible.
The lessons I learned from my mom around money were: “Money is very stressful to deal with.” “If you have a good job, you’ll be fine. That’s all you need to know about money” “Money is for spend- ing, and so are credit cards.” I never heard mention of saving or investing.
So I worked hard and went to great schools and got a very high-paying job as a law firm lawyer. I made lots of money, but because I believed that “money was so stressful to deal with” I avoided dealing with it. I left my mail unopened and typically would not pay a bill until I received notice of a late fee. Despite my nice six-figure salary, I managed to spend every penny and then some. I was living paycheck
to paycheck and carried debt. My financial life was a mess.
At one point I spent $600 on a financial planner to help me get organized. He made me a binder with lots of beautiful and colorful charts showing where my money was currently going and where it would go if I started saving and investing. He did nothing to work on my mindset. This binder collected dust in my office. With my mindset as it was, I could not stick to my budget or manage to pay my bills on time.
When I got engaged I decided that I didn’t want to bring my financial issues into my marriage. Money problems are one of the main killers of marriages and I knew my money habits were a problem. So, I started to study and take courses in finances. I got many skills, but still could not get myself to follow through on what I now knew I “should” be doing. It was only when I got pregnant with my daughter and studied to become a money mastery coach, that I realized that I had to deal with my mindset. The work I have done has shifted things tremendously for me.
Now I want to share with you 5 things I learned that you can do today to create a more prosperous money mindset.
Recognize and challenge your limiting beliefs about money: Take a minute and close your eyes. What phrases come to mind when you think about money. What did you learn as a child about money? Write these beliefs down in your journal. Some of the things you wrote down may have been “money is the root of all evil”, “Money doesn’t grow on trees”, “Money cannot buy happiness”, and “Time is money”. These are probably the most common. Is this how you think about money?
If so, you are limiting your ability to easily receive money and to have a more positive experience with money. Know that the beliefs you wrote down are not necessarily true. Be willing to challenge and relief beliefs that do not seem to be serving you.
Visualize yourself in a most abundant life: Your brain thinks in pictures; it doesn’t know the difference between imagined thoughts and what you are seeing. The same parts of your brain light up when you are imagining as when you are actually seeing/ experiencing something. When it sees it, it will work to make it come true. Visualize yourself with $1 billion. What will you do with it? How would it feel? Get into the feeling place of it being done. Really put yourself in the shoes of your billionaire self. How would this person look, feel and think? What advice would your billionaire self give you? If any anxieties come up when you think about this amount of money – go back to Step 1. Those are your limiting beliefs showing up.
Pay attention to your money in a pleasureable way, and make that time of interaction an honored and sacred interaction. Have a weekly money date (or more if you’re called to). Start by keeping your receipts in your wallet along with a few index cards. Once a week (or more if you are a big spender set aside 5 minutes. Find a quiet place. Light some candles and incense. Pour a cup of your favorite tea or a decadent hot chocolate. Take some deep breaths, relax, and then list out on an index card everything you spent your money on this week. Next take your bills and pay with love, joy and gratitude. Be grateful that your creditors trust you to pay. I write as I pay or receive any money “This money is but a symbol of the inexhaustible supply of the Universe. I give thanks that 10x10x that much is now on its way to me and manifests quickly in perfect ways.” Any interaction with money (receiving or spending) is an ability to grow more abundant in your mindset. Pay attention to your money in a pleasureable way, and make that time of interaction an honored and sacred space. Afford money the love and respect that it deserves, and it will love you back.
Rejoice in others’ good fortune. If you think of wealthy people as THEM or you see someone have something you want and are jealous, then you are blocking money from coming to you the way you want. If you find that someone has something you want (material or otherwise), say “Hurray! This is showing up in my experience because it’s coming for me too!” This is an abundant and limitless universe, no one can take your good. Our Universe is not a pie with limited pieces. When we receive, the pie gets bigger. There is no lack of resources, just lack of resourcefulness. When someone else receives, look at the ways in which they are being resourceful to do so. You will learn from them and open yourself up to more.
Recognize your prosperity/be grateful – we so often focus on what we lack that we fail to take note of how much we already have. What you appreciate and focus on, appreciates. I engage in a nightly gratitude list. Focus on what you have to be grateful for monetarily (from that penny you found on the street to your job to the money in your savings account). Also, be grateful for all the things you have that money can’t buy. I for one and going to write down tonight that I’m so grateful for you and that I was able to share this information with this amazing audience of moms.