Financial Wellness During the Holidays
Today, I had my first conversation of the season about holiday gifts and I stuck to my guns.
This year, I am focusing on quality over quantity -- in terms of both number of items and cost/amount.
My son's father and I have reached the point in our co-parenting relationship where we don't really have to talk about money (thank God!). That was a wellness-driven journey all by itself, but we do have to occasionally discuss birthday arrangements and gifts.
My son has declared to just about anyone who will listen that he wants a MacBook for Christmas.
He's nine and he just got an iPad last Christmas.
The MacBook is a no for me.
This request signaled to me that I need to do some level-setting in my household about money. Sure, he's a kid and kids tend to ask "Santa" for outrageous things. However, this Santa wants to raise a child who develops a healthy relationship with money earlier in life than I did.
My son's father suggested that we all pitch in together to get him a MacBook. That's a fair suggestion, but I still disagreed with the premise. If I was flush with cash, maybe my answer would have been different, but since the economy is fragile and I only have one income outside of child support coming into my household, I have to "make a dollar out of 15 cents" on a monthly basis. An entry level Chromebook is more than sufficient if you ask me.
Nonetheless, I am personally committed to staying true to my financial wellness goals (which are to build an emergency fund and diversify my streams of income). I want to celebrate traditions and leverage gifts as a means for fueling my loved ones' interests, but buying random stuff isn't high on my list of priorities.
I want to challenge myself to stick to the Four-Gift Rule this year. Examples of this concept are pinned to Mahogany Manifesto’s “Holiday Wellness" Pinterest Board (https://pin.it/5mfIk45). For my mother and son, I will get each of them something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read. It wasn't easy to come to this determination. A lot of people in my life subscribe to the "more stuff = more love" camp. That's simply not the value I want to instill in my child. I have been accused of being cheap before, but if that means I'm taking a responsible, balanced approach to my financial wellness, then so be it!
Planning ahead and setting boundaries are crucial measures right now. Think twice about purchases. Every dollar spent is one less dollar saved.
If you need a jumpstart on your goalsetting, join Mahogany Manifesto's email list to receive the “Pre-Holiday Wellness Boost Workbook." There is an entire section on financial wellness and a helpful gift planning sheet the orients your anticipated spending in relation to your monetary goals.
Keep things in perspective!