I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life even more so on how I chose to handle my finances.
Back then, I would easily spend my money on unnecessary things, without any hesitation, and then justifying my spending habits with the words “I deserve it.”
I was so caught up in the instant gratification trap that I didn’t even stop to think and take the time to really consider the consequences of my actions.
And of course, there were consequences — a lot of them.
My reckless spending habits buried me in a deep financial hole which eventually trapped me into the spiral of debt (I’ve definitely learned my lesson the hard way)
Now, with the Holidays creeping in, I certainly don’t want to make the same mistakes again this year. Mistakes that could eventually bury me in a much deeper hole than I’m already in.
Because let’s face it, regardless of how many times we try to just ignore it, the Holiday Season is definitely the time of the year when our credit card bills are at the highest.
So, if you’re also alarmed by how much money you’ve spent during last year’s Holiday Season and if you’re aiming for a debt-free holiday this year, like me, then it’s definitely time for us to rethink the way we are managing our finances and change our spending habits.
And to help you get started, here are 6 Financial Mistakes that you should avoid this Holiday Season…
Refusing to have a budget
If you’re planning to place a giant hole in your finances then not having a budget set for the holidays is probably the best way to go — I’ve learned this the hard way.
I’ve made a bold and stupid move of refusing to have a budget during last year’s holiday season and you know what that decision brought me?
Debt and so much stress.
I tell you, failing to set up a budget for the holidays can easily ruin your finances and waste your hard-earned money.
So, before you start planning the perfect Christmas, ask yourself first these questions: How much can you afford? How much are you willing to pay?
Set a specific amount and plan your Holiday around that amount.
Not having a list or a plan
Holiday season or not, when you shop without any list or even a plan you are definitely bound to spend more than the amount that you intended to pay.
By planning ahead and creating a list of everything that you need for the holidays you are not only making sure that everything is accounted for, it also keeps you aware of how much money you are spending in total and it makes it easier for you to track where your money goes — making it less likely for you to overspend.
So, before you hit the mall, take the time to sit down, plan and make a list of everything that you need to buy for the holidays.
And to help you organize all your holiday planning, check out this Holiday Planner!
Relying on Credit Cards to pay for everything
This was definitely one of my biggest mistakes. I was so caught up into thinking that since my cards still have credit left on them then I might as well just spend it on the things I need for the holidays and I’ll just save enough money to pay it when January comes.
While that is possible but I tell you, climbing out of a financial debt is not always that easy. Eventually, the interest racks up and you find yourself buried in even more debt.
Just because you have credit left on your card doesn’t mean that you should just use it all up — remember, you still eventually have to pay for that.
Eating out more often
Let’s face it, with all the parties and family get-togethers lined up during the holiday season we often find ourselves, eating out way more than the usual.
Eating out is not at all bad but if money is tight and if you’re constantly doing this to a point where you are ruining your budget then that is when the problem starts.
Remember, holiday gift giving and shopping can easily get really expensive, if you add your ridiculous bar and restaurant bills to the tab then you might just be burying yourself in debt when January comes.
So, before you say yes to every social situation, check your bank account first and remind yourself that it’s okay to say no.
Though sometimes, you may find it difficult but trust me, your finances will thank you for doing it.
Whether it’s shopping for the holidays, planning a vacation or even doing just day to day task, we sometimes just love to procrastinate and wait until the last minute to finish everything — I did.
I’ve always had a bad habit of waiting for the perfect last-minute deal. But the reality is, we may not always get the perfect last-minute deal.
Yes, there are cases when we do but the chances are very slim and if you constantly lean on that slight chance, you might just end up spending more money than you intended.
Instead, do your research, keep an eye out for good deals and compare prices — give yourself enough time to do all those things and it will be a lot easier for you to stick to your budget and avoid wasting money.
Shopping to impress
I am a people pleaser — this is still something that I’m working on changing.
Whether it’s doing a simple task, saying yes to a commitment that I didn’t want to do, or even shopping for a Christmas gift — I always aim for other’s approval and validation.
During the Holiday season, we often feel this extra amount of pressure to get the perfect extravagant gift to impress our friends, our boss and of course, our family.
We often always feel so tempted to buy something that is way over our budget just so there’s no room for disappointment.
I was also very guilty of this but I’ve realized that most people will actually prefer a simple yet well-thought-out gift, something that really reflects who they are over something that you bought just because it’s expensive.
Staying on top of our finances is not always easy, especially during the holiday season. But as cliché as this may sound, we must keep reminding ourselves that there is so much more to the holiday season than spending a ridiculous amount of money.
The perfect holiday season for me is making every day count by spending it with the people that you love and making wonderful memories together.
What are the financial mistakes that you want to avoid this holiday season? Let me know in the comment section below or send me an email, I would love to hear from you!