Have you been in this situation before?
You want to start a diet and shed a few pounds, but you decide, since it’s November already, you should just wait until after the holidays. You tell yourself you’ll have a fresh start January 1st. New year, new life, all that.
This plan may sound good to you, but since you keep thinking about the diet you’re going to start in January, you indulge more than you normally would over the holidays and gain 10 pounds. Now, you have an even bigger job ahead of you come January 1st.
If you had instead started your new eating plan at the beginning of the holiday season, you would have had better control over your eating. You likely wouldn’t have gained weight. If you were doing great and were motivated, you may have even lost weight, but let’s be honest—even remaining the same weight during the holidays is an accomplishment.
We’re in November, which is when most people are at risk of two negatives—eating too much and spending too much.
Just like the decision to lose weight, many people may decide to start focusing on managing their money better after the holidays. After all, there are so many presents to buy and parties to host. Getting on a budget isn’t possible during the holidays, they think. And then, because they’re not keeping an eye on their finances, they spend lavishly and find themselves facing an exorbitant credit card bill that they can’t pay in full.
Why not make this year different?
Yes, the holidays are right around the corner, but it’s not too late to keep your finances in check. Here are some simple strategies:
Don’t give gifts to everyone. If you don’t have a lot of money saved up for gifts, don’t go into debt to buy them. Think about it. Do you remember what gifts you received for Christmas last year? Do you remember who gave them to you?
Yeah, I thought so.
I remember only one gift from last Christmas, even though I got several.
Give a gift that you can pay for later. I love this strategy! If you don’t have a lot of money for holiday gifts but still want to give something, consider offering a gift at a later date. For instance, you could offer a close friend a present of dinner and a movie at a time of her choosing. Maybe she decides in March that she’d like to take you up on the offer. You’ve had three months to save the money for that gift.
Don’t give in to peer pressure. There is an enormous amount of peer pressure during the holiday season to go to parties, bring food, buy gifts for everyone. . .It’s okay to step off this spendthrift merry-go-round and simply say no. You don’t have to go to every party. You don’t have to buy a present for everyone you have contact with in your life.
Just say no.
The next four to six weeks can have a significant impact on the first few months of 2016.
Are you going to indulge occasionally in sweet treats but mostly eat healthy, or are you going to let loose and gain 10 pounds?
Are you going to be financially responsible and only give gifts that you have the means to give, or are you going to charge everything and create a hole that will take you three or four months to dig out of, if not more?
Haven’t you had enough of overindulgent holidays? Wouldn’t you like to start 2016 with a truly fresh start and no extra weight or bills?
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in New York, where she loves the natural beauty of the area.