Posts Tagged ‘Emotional Wellness’

Control Emotional Spending During the Holidays

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Many people consider the winter holidays to be the best part of the year. It’s a time to give from your heart, spend extra time with your loved ones and enjoy some tasty food! For others, the holidays are bittersweet. They can get overwhelmed with hustle and bustle of the holidays and find themselves lost in the mix of it all.

Emotional SpendingNo matter which category you fall into, the holidays can add an incredible amount of emotional stress to your life. Without even thinking about it, you may start to change your normal habits to help relieve the pressure. If you’re not careful, these emotions can take control of your spending habits and put you into a further stressful state of mind. Here are some tips to prevent this from happening:

Buy Memories or Experiences Instead of Things
If you shower your children or grandchildren with toys this year, they’ll have a great day or two, but the excitement will soon wear off. In fact, they may not even remember the gifts a year from now. On the other hand, if you treat them to a stay at soccer camp or you take them on their first fishing trip, they’ll remember it for a lifetime. If you can’t afford anything that lavish, give them the gift of your time! This could be as simple as a new baseball glove and someone to actually play catch with.

Remember, Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Better
We’re all so blinded by TV ads that try to make us believe that our life isn’t complete without the latest electronic gadget or an expensive new car. The truth is you’d probably be much happier in the long run with less expensive items and a better sense of financial security. Before you buy something you don’t need or can’t afford, think about whether one day of anticipated happiness is worth months or even years of financial struggle.

Fill Your Needs by Making a Difference in Someone Else’s Life
If you buy, buy, buy during the holidays because it makes you feel good to give to others, why not do something that makes a real difference is someone’s life? If you donate money to a charity, help feed the homeless or share your holiday with a neighbor who’s all alone, that feeling of being needed and making a difference will activate the same pleasure centers in your brain as spending all your cash and some of your credit at the mall. As a bonus, this type of pleasure lasts much longer than the quick-fix that comes in a fancy shopping bag!

Get Organized and Get Stress Free
Take time to plan out your gifts this holiday season.  By organizing your gift giving you will not only save time and money, you will also save a lot of emotional stress.  Start by writing out a list of who you plan to buy gifts for and approximately what you would like to spend on each person.  Take this list with you on every shopping trip this holiday season and stick to it.  Having this list will not only help you maintain your budget this year but it will also allow you to see where splurges or “the forgotten ones” can be squeezed in.

Money Can’t Buy Lasting Happiness
Studies have shown that people with more money are happier than those without, but only by a small degree. The same research found that the reason for this anomaly is that people don’t spend their money on the right things. Like a drug or a sugar rush, an impulse purchase can satisfy your emotional needs for a short time through instant gratification, but that high will quickly wear off leaving you feeling empty again. This is a path that can lead to a true shopping addiction during the holidays and even worse, year round. If you take the time to reflect on the emotions behind your purchases, you may be able to maintain control this holiday season.
Learn to recognize your emotional health and how it may be affecting your decisions this holiday season, both in and out of the stores.  By making choices that provide long-term pleasure instead of instant gratification, you and your entire family will enjoy the holidays more and be happier throughout the year.