Control Holiday Spending
Filing bankruptcy is stressful and for many, embarrassing. It can be tempting to give into social pressures and over-spend at the holidays, even while you’re in the midst of a bankruptcy filing. There are ways to control holiday spending.
I’ve seen this time and again: parents wanting to buy Little Suzie that shiny new iPad or a loving husband wanting to splurge on his wife when he should be curbing spending instead.
Don’t Do It.
Social pressure is understandable but is it a greater motivator than peace of mind? Definitely not!
3 Ways to Control Holiday Spending When Filing for Bankruptcy
So before you spend money you really shouldn’t on shiny new things this holiday season, consider these 3 ways to control holiday spending when filing for bankruptcy.
1 Talk To Your Family
Talk to your family. Even if the kids don’t know all the details about your financial situation, chances are they know things aren’t ideal.
While you don’t need to tell them your bank balance or that you’re filing for bankruptcy, you can get their understanding and cooperation by talking with them about your new budget.
One client in Aurora altered their family tradition by having a “Secret Santa” drawing. Each family member got the name of one other family member to buy for, and a $20 spending limit. They added to the fun by having a scheduled family shopping outing and a one-hour time limit to find their gifts.
Instead of spending hours opening gifts on Christmas morning, they spent time together making small-budget buying fun.
2 Just Say No
Office pot lucks, small group gift exchanges and neighborhood cookie co-ops can be fun but they can also be expensive.
If you’re asked to join in on a gift exchange, it’s ok to say no thank you. You might be surprised to learn how many of your friends and colleagues will pass as well, for financial, time or religious reasons.
3 Give the Gift of Time
My wife and I are active in our church and love to participate in annual holiday outreaches. In fact, we decided years ago to give time to those in need and to each other instead of over-spending at the holidays.
Though we have not struggled with the debt problems and worry that come from a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, we have discovered the pure joy of giving our time to those who want it.
Consider visiting nursing homes to spend time with residents, or serving holiday meals at a local shelter.
A young woman in Littleton, Colorado, told me her family gives sled rides to neighborhood children on Christmas Day. They decorate their sleds in battery-powered lights and old Christmas ornaments to add to the festive cheer.
Before you spend money you probably shouldn’t, think about what you value most. Chances are it’s time with the people you love.
Planning is Key
With a little planning and determination, you can resist the urge to over-spend at the holidays and other debt problems. Whether you’re in the midst of bankruptcy or simply getting a handle on your budget, you’ll probably find more joy in saving than spending.
If you are facing bankruptcy and need help I’m here to talk.