Ed’s note: This post was written by guest editor Chelsea Murhpy of cashfullstop.com
It’s this time of the year that can get overwhelming, financially. Invitations to parties and events all crammed into December. Christmas presents for everyone, including your brother’s girlfriend of two weeks (because he likes to go ‘all in’). Token presents for everyone you see within a two-week radius of December 25. Appreciation gifts for your team, mentors and business besties because gratitude is important, right?
And then there are the sales! You probably got excited about Black Friday promotions and then Cyber Money came around and who could resist? Now it’s all about the 12 days of Christmas and the deals are hot – I’m the first to spend the obligatory $100 to secure free shipping, rather than $12 for delivery. The point is, the sales never stop and by being mindful of your money, you can approach 2018 with financial confidence and comfort. It’s all about keeping things simple. Here are our tips for being a money minimalist this festive season.
1. So what do you really value?
You’ve got to start with the deep stuff… What’s important to you and why? Once you know that then every decision is easier. Should you go to that party or stay home? Do you really need to buy that person a gift? What can you do that is personal (AKA more meaningful) and less expensive? Can you have a conversation with that person to say, “Let’s not do token gifts this year”? How can I get to know those closest to me better so I’m giving them what they need? A movie and dinner date with your mum could be a much better present than the annual pyjama exchange. Know what’s important to you and you won’t waste your time or money.
2. Learn to eliminate
Don’t want to have a Christmas catch-up with toxic friends? Do something about it! Attending all those obligatory things just limits your finances, which restricts you from actually doing what you want, so graciously take them off your schedule. The minimalist approach is to ask yourself, ‘Does this bring me joy?’. Does doing that thing or buying that thing bring a smile to your face? If not, it’s time to find something that does.
3. Write down what you intend to spend
It’s a busy time of year, so help yourself (and your bank account balance) by writing it all down. Use an app. Pull out your moleskin. Whatever works for you! The point is, write it down. The Christmas gift list. The Christmas lunch shopping list. The New Year’s Eve cocktail night with friends. By planning, you don’t have to buy last-minute gifts (often more expensive because time allowances are low and guilt is high) or grocery items (limes at $49/kg – I’m not falling for that this year, Mr Green Grocer). Get busy on your list as soon as possible.
4. Eyes wide open
Busyness + lots of social engagements + gift-giving season can equal breaking the bank. You need to keep an eye on all things financial, so you don’t walk into January with your eyes wide shut (and a freaking huge credit card bill). Make sure you only commit to things that align to your values and that you can afford. Buy now and pay later approaches to shopping do catch up with you. Keep up with your usual financial commitments, like managing bills and saving. Things should stay on track, even if it is Aperol Season.
Transitioning from a financial free-for-all to money minimalism is a journey, so go easy on yourself. It’s a daily war of YOLO and FOMO, but nothing feels better than financial confidence and comfort, so try on money minimalism. Let’s face it, if you can achieve it in December and January, then 2018 might just be your most financial year yet!