Enchanted Keys

Week 50: 10 Tips to Control Overspending

Salutations, Enchanted Journeyers,

I hope you are maintaining your Zen lane and not succumbing to the Critical Dragons that can be part of the holiday season. This week’s focus is on the Dragons of Overspending. Take a moment to quiet yourself, pull the Dragon claws that hook you out of your belly and pay attention to what makes you overspend.

Here is some typical Dragon chatter that may be familiar to you:

  1. You’re exhausted so #@%*$$$ it! Just get THIS. (which costs way more than you wanted to spend.)
  2. You can’t make a budget beforehand. You have to get them something really nice so just do that now and worry about it later.
  3. They always buy your child a thoughtful and expensive gift so you have to match that. (even though they have eight children.)
  4. You don’t want them to think you’re cheap!
  5. If you get the (fill in the blank) BOSS, TEACHERS, COACHES, etc. then they will be nicer to (fill in the blank) YOU, YOUR CHILDREN, YOUR HUSBAND, etc.
  6. You will not be outdone!
  7. You ALWAYS overspend at the holidays.
  8. You want to remain the favorite (fill in the blank) PARENT, AUNT, UNCLE, FRIEND, etc. and this is the way you maintain your status.
  9. It feels great to make others happy, even if you put yourself in debt for the next six months.
  10. You should have planned to shop earlier but you didn’t so the extra shipping costs are your punishment. Just pay and suck it up.

Now for the antidote.

Make a plan and stick to it for your own well-being. Don’t let your Dragons convince you that it’s too late for this holiday season. It isn’t. You could numb yourself through to the end of the year and then some if you’re not careful.

  1. Before you head out, eat some protein, and take some nuts and water with you to stay hydrated. It’s a battlefield out there.
  2. Organization is key. Make your list of everyone for whom you intend to buy gifts. Then set a budget for each person on the list. See if there are groups of readers on your list or gardeners or cooks and map out your shopping trips accordingly.
  3. You don’t have to match gifts dollar for dollar. Gifts from the heart and/or made by the hand can be more meaningful than any dollar amount.
  4. If you are not being cheap, no one else will think you are. See above, regarding an investment in time, energy and love that goes into a gift.
  5. If you are purchasing expensive gifts as a manipulation tool, then something is very wrong and you likely won’t end up with the desired result. Additionally you may also be resentful and broke.
  6. If having the biggest or the best gift has historically meant the most expensive, get creative to change how you gift others. You might decide to provide a memorable experience instead of a tangible gift.
  7. Just because you have always overspent in the past doesn’t mean that you are destined to continue that tradition. See what has been appealing about it and recreate that intention, while starting a new way of doing it.
  8. Give more to others of what makes you special as a person.
  9. It does feel good to give. Do that with the hugest gifts from your heart. Share an experience with loved ones in which you help those who are less fortunate.
  10. On New Year’s Day, while it’s still fresh, take stock of how long it actually took to organize yourself, makes your list, (always get a few gifts that can fill in for someone you overlooked or didn’t know would gift you), make a realistic plan for the number of shopping trips required, how much you can do online, by when you’d like to send your cards and so on. Put it on your new calendar or in your new day planner or it just won’t happen.

YOU are a gift to others. THEY are a gift to you. Spending time together can be one of the most joyous gifts there is to share.

Have an enchanting holiday season.



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