Decking the Halls Without Breaking the Bank

Fiscal Discipline During The Holiday Season

Fiscal Discpline and Christmas CookiesHere we are, marching towards the holidays. We are heading toward the most pressure packed season of the year. This is the time my impulse control needs the most exercise!

Retailers — in the hopes of making more sales during the holiday season — make it so difficult for me to be disciplined. Everything in the stores and online looks so appealing. Over the years I came to a realization that I need a process around my Holiday gift shopping. I need discipline! 

The B Word

The first step is coming up with a gift budget. Yikes! The “B” word! The most hated word in my vocabulary. Yet it is a MUST!

How much, in total, should I budget on Holiday gifts? How much of my gift budget should I allocate to each group (family, friends, business associates)? Once I have a budget, then I need gift lists.

Checking Your List At Least Twice

I’m just fine putting my gift lists together. I create a list for family, for friends’ gifts and another for professional connections. My problem is restraining myself to just purchasing the gifts on my list.

This is when I need to practice my Financial Discipline. Making my way through the department stores, I ask myself these questions (especially when standing in line at the cash register):

  • Why am I here?
  • How do I feel?
  • Is this purchase on my gift list?
  • Is it in my budget?
  • Can I afford for it?

Sophias Cookies for the HolidaysIf I am not comfortable with my answers, it probably means I have spent dramatically more than I wanted. If I’ve blown my budget, I cannot feel joy about giving the gifts. Then, what is the point? By taking a hard look at what’s in my shopping basket, I make a decision about where I can I cut back.

If I am comfortable with my answers, then I’ve practiced financial discipline. I’m happy that I’ve stayed on the road to being Fiscally Fit. That leads to more in my Holiday gift giving!

How will you exercise financial discipline during this Holiday season?

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