If I was Santa Claus…I would bring you a big bag of money and drop it right at your feet for Christmas! Yipppeee, wouldn’t that be cheerful? I’m betting this is a present that you’d have many uses for, and happily accept. After all, while money ‘does not buy happiness’, having money in your own checking account can bring ease and comfort to your daily life — and put a big smile on your face to boot.
So, why is it that we part with our money so easily? ‘Shinny object’, ‘squirrel’ — oops, your attention is diverted, and there goes the money from your hand (and mine too). And, this Holiday time is well designed by retailers to intoxicate you into handing over your cash. And, heaven forbid! – use your credit card!
What’s to be done, Sister? We’ll hope for Santa to bring you a big pile of money with your efforts and contributions. One approach is to ‘get’ more money — and did you know that people who ‘get’ more money also count their pennies? One way or another, life will be more comfortable with cash to take care of your needs.
So what are ten things that can add up the cents and keep dollars in your checking account? Or as Ben Franklin used to say ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’. You know in my early years, I used to blow that off. Like what did Ben know anyway? P.S….he was only one of the wisest men accounted for in history and had experience and wisdom to share with me — but what did he know? I bucked his wisdom — and my stomach twisted and turned when I had more ‘month’ than ‘money’.
Since the ‘Santa dropping it at your feet’ is hopeful, and worth requesting from the jolly old fellow— the better part of wisdom is to get conscious about tracking your money. And in this season it takes particular intent to comfortably and gracefully relate to your money. Will you still have cash at the end of December? Will you end the year personally making a profit, in other words, earning more money than you spend? What a concept that is. This too would be a great Christmas present to yourself!
Here’s how to give this gift to you!
- Cut up your credit cards. Don’t just put them in your bottom drawer — chuck them! Cut them up and live as a ‘girl with cash’. Either you have cash in your checking account for that purchase or you don’t. When you don’t — you don’t. The best way to keep track of your cash is to only spend cash.
- If the cash in your checking account is not meeting your needs —how about getting a holiday job to add some extra? It could be anywhere from dog walking to holiday gift wrapping in a store to whatever works for you. You have gifts to offer and be paid for — be creative!
- Get a cup of tea and sit down with your list of people who you want to share gifts with this season. What do they really want from you that would most fill their hearts? Is it a letter, a hand-made gift or something that you specially create — is it wrapped creatively in the newspaper with artwork that you did for them? In a world that is suffering, how you reach out in love is the best gift to offer. What can you do that expresses your love, and respects your pocketbook?
- Can you do another kind of gift than a ‘purchased’ gift? Could you make a cute card with a gift certificate in it that entitles the other person to something you would do: take care of their pet(s), mow the lawn six times, clean the house, plan a picnic or something that you just know that the other person would appreciate and you could do. This can be really fun and creative. Offer to have an ‘experience’ with that someone, rather than buying them something — they will probably remember this far more than something that you buy for them. Make your gift a long handwritten list of why you are grateful for them — I have kept a treasured gift like this for many years.
- Shop for best values. I’ve seen ‘name brands’ offered for sale at discount retailers. This year, I bought a Coach leather jacket at Ross for my guy, Lululemon sports pants at the Outlet Store and a pretty handbag on tradesy.com — all for great prices! This meant fun good presents and gentle impact on my cash.
- Give Gift Cards. While there are more often sales before Christmas now — big saves are handed out in January. If you give a gift card, then your special someone can get more for less after the Christmas retail season.
- Pare Your List Down. Are there people who you have on your gift-giving list — that maybe could be taken off, or at least gifted but in a less expensive way? Is there a way to simplify your gift giving? Could you put together a nice basket of fruit, make cookies or maybe just send on old-fashioned Christmas card with a note?
- Review your bank balances. Oops, running out of cash? Get creative and realistic. You can’t ‘buy’ happiness for you or anyone else — you can only give your love. Giving away all your money in hopes of making the season merry — will not make you marry in the end. How much is in your account, how much is left, and what will keep you safe and secure are your considerations.
- Shop ahead. Plan your Christmas gifts ahead of time so that you’re not rushed at the last minute and tempted to spend just to get it done. Believe it or not, I usually have my Christmas shopping done in September or so, that way I can spread out the purchase cost and find the best values.
- Write a Comment in the space below. Tell me what you are doing to be cash happy during this Holiday season. Do you already own something that you are going to gift to someone else because you know that they’ll love it too, and reserve your cash? Is there a special picture to hand frame and spread your love to someone on your list? Share — I’d love to hear from you!
Here’s wishing you a jolly Holiday season. Here’s wishing you money in your checking account, happiness in your spirit and contentment with what you already have in your life.
If you haven’t mastered all of this for this Holiday season — well, it’s a process and now you’ve got something to look forward to creating in the next ones. The important part is no credit cards and ‘happy with cash’. You’ll make progress in your financial life this way.
Now, I take advice from Ben. He said, ‘“Don’t Give Too Much for the Whistle”. That makes me laugh when I need to redirect my money thinking.
This quote comes from a story that happened during Benjamin Franklin’s childhood. When he was seven, he saw another boy blowing a whistle and wanted the toy for himself. He offered the other boy all his money in exchange for the whistle. He later learned that he had paid more than four times what the whistle was actually worth. He learned an important lesson that many people still need to learn: don’t overpay for items.
This Holiday Season, watch what you are paying for ‘whistles’! Keep your cash safely stashed, and come into the New Year with more in the savings that you had last year at this time. That will make this a joyous season all the way around!