5 weeks to the festive season really kicks in and don't we all need that extended break.
There are new pressures lurking this Christmas with the urge to splurge on wants rather than needs. The internal voice will be a little stronger this year, telling us that 'we deserve it' after what we have gone without for the past 3 years. We are also exposed to relentless headlines focusing on emotional hardship and crisis which are exhausting and energy zapping.
It is quite common for people to drift into the festive season and be caught up in the retail nudge, fighting for every spare dollar we might or might not have. The challenge for many this year is that there are fewer spare dollars so it is important to be mindful of where we direct them. While everyone is not in the same boat, we are all feeling some level of financial pressure and noticing the rising cost of most things. While these pressures are present, our life goes on.. and whilst money can't buy happiness it can restrict us in some ways to live the life that we enjoy.
Fifteen plus years ago I was lucky to work with a colleague in the UK whose tradition was to send to family, friends, and colleagues a festive card sharing the experiences and milestones for them as a family during the last 12 months. It was a year in review and the intent was to share the things that they are grateful for. It was uplifting but grounding and made me think how many people could benefit from doing this. Even if it is just with your family, it reminds us that in amongst all the chaos and challenges, life does go on and we have many moments and people to be very grateful for. Let's not let the moment pass, let our loved ones know this.
This habit puts us in a stronger position over the festive period to put some thought into what is our purpose? what do we want to achieve and experience in 2023?
10 tips to improve your financial wellness during the festive period
- Focus on time with family and friends not the materialistic gift itself. Our time is the most valuable gift we can give to others.
- When spending time with family and friends focus on activities and venues where you can have fun but limit the cost (take advantage of the parks and beaches that we are blessed with in Australia).
- Go to your existing bank if you have a loan and ask for a better rate. Better in your pocket than the banks.
- Look at group membership discounts you may be entitled to. Quite often you can get 5 - 10% off common gift cards.
- Have a set budget to limit spending during this period.
- For the creative spirits personalise a handmade gift. It has so much meaning when people know you have dedicated time and effort for them.
- Consider extending an invitation at your table to someone who may be spending the period alone or make a small charitable donation to ease the burden for someone else.
- Pool resources between families and friends by sharing the cost that comes with family events. Work together and agree what each person's contribution will be.
- For the large families pool resources where there are many family members in terms of gifts. For example, one gift per child rather than each family purchasing individual gifts for everyone. Secret Santa between families is a great way of doing this.
- Review what you don't use/need and sell it to generate some additional cash or donate it to a local charity.
There are many more practical things that you can do to manage your money and the stress that comes at this time of year.
For employers that are focused on wellness programs for their staff, there is a fantastic opportunity for you not to let the moment pass and support them with practical solutions in 2023.
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