For many, along with holiday cheer and excitement, comes the stress of time and finances, along with the burden of debt. The holidays bring a dizzying array of demands – everything from shopping to parties, baking, cleaning and entertaining, just to name a few. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to give-in to the stress, anxiety and pressure of the season.
Several pitfalls come with the holidays, but you will learn to not only avoid those pitfalls, but continue to make money, pay off debt, lose weight and accomplish your goals… while everyone else does exactly the opposite.
My friend, a “want” without a plan gets you nowhere. And I know you don’t want to increase your debt during the holidays. I know you don’t want to increase your stress. I know you want to accomplish your goals. But if you’re serious about sticking to your goals, saving money, paying off debt and finishing this year strong, you MUST have a plan.
You will see two different types of people going into this holiday season: Those who will get caught-up in all of the shopping, cooking, entertaining, traveling and stress that comes with the season, going further into debt, spending more money and simply coasting through the end of the year. And then, there are those who will focus on strategically positioning themselves to fatten their wallets, decrease their debt, achieve their personal and business goals and help others to do the same.
We find those same two populations everywhere else… with 98% of the population dead or dead broke by the age of 65, depending on their family, friends or government as their main source of income, and only 2% of the population doing well financially.
The best way to become part of the 2% – the ones going into this holiday season, focused on making more money, paying off their debt and reaching their goals – is to find out what everyone else is doing, and do the exact opposite.
So let’s look at what 98% of the population does, and see what we can do differently:
DON’T spend foolishly on Black Friday!
Those 98%-ers are going shopping on Black Friday, because they think they’re going to save money. In fact, USA Today reported about 51% of consumers plan to go shopping on Black Friday this year. But they don’t realize, they’ll be spending more money and even going further into debt, buying things for other people (and themselves), not because they need those things – and not even because they necessarily want those things – but because it’s on sale. Think about it! Who taught you to shop at sales, anyway? The media, marketers, grocery stores, department stores – the ones taking your money! Sales make you feel like you’re saving money, but the bottom line is this: You can’t save money by spending it. You save money by NOT spending it! But if you do decide to go shopping this Black Friday, I hope you hear me in your head, screaming “STEP AWAY FROM THE SALES!” Choose to spend your money wisely.
DO save money and pay off debt!
You can save money, by not spending it at all the big holiday sales. When you don’t spend all your money at the sales, you’ll find a lot of cash you didn’t even know you had lying around! In reality, it’s not just about Black Friday. It’s about habits. If you keep doing the same things over and over again, you get the same results. Instead, take that extra cash and put it toward your debt. Or put it toward something to actually help you reach your financial goals, your business goals, your career goals, your family goals! I know, you’re thinking… “Oh come on, that’s no fun!” Seriously?! Uh, hello! Do you know how much fun it’s going to be when you start paying off debt? It’s a total rush! Imagine the feeling of total freedom… there’s nothing like it!
DON’T buy out of obligation!
Those same 98%-ers will buy gifts for their family and friends, just because it’s expected this time of year. But please tell me, why is it necessary to buy gifts for people who don’t need anything, anyway? What good is another gift to just go on a shelf, in a box in the garage or in next year’s garage sale? But 98%-ers fear what people will think, if they don’t give a gift. Or, they buy gifts for people just because they know the other person will buy them something. But gifts bought out of obligation, are not a good use of your money!
DO put purpose to money!
Choose to do something meaningful this holiday season. For example, take the money you would have spent on Christmas gifts for those who really don’t need anything, and bless a family truly in need. Bless them with food and clothes. Pay their electric bill. Just show up unannounced and bless someone who needs it. This will not only bless the recipient of the gifts, but it will bless you and your family, more than you thought possible!
DON’T just coast through the rest of the year!
The 98%-ers will get so caught up in the holiday craziness, they will quit focusing on their goals. They will just go with the flow and let time slip away. And then find themselves on January 1st in the same place as last year. “I fell off the wagon halfway through the year, so I’m gonna wait until January.” It’s like the diet you promise to start Monday – but you can’t do that with years!
DO re-evaluate the goals you set last January!
Remember that list of goals you made back in January? Where are you on that list? Have you made progress? Have you achieved some of your goals? Are you on-track to accomplish those goals before the end of the year? It’s not too late to get back on-track! You still have time – the year is not over, yet! Instead of just coasting through the remainder of 2016, find two goals on that list and focus on accomplishing them. You will feel better about yourself and finish the year strong.
DON’T let the stress of the season make you forget what it’s all about!
This time of year is generally very fast and furious. Between the shopping, parties, financial pressures, family issues and the general “busy-ness” of the season, a lot of stress can build. And those 98%-ers will get caught-up in the stress and forget the true reason for the season.
DO slow down and take time to remember what this time is about!
Take time to reflect on the year. Celebrate your accomplishments. Make time to be thankful for the people and opportunities you have in your life. Use this time to teach your kids about gratitude. Teach them to use what they have to bless others in need. Sit down with your family and reflect on the past year. Discuss where you want to go and what you want to accomplish in 2017.
So which population will you fall into this holiday season? Will you be part of the 98%, who will finish out the year broke, stressed out and in the same place (or worse) than they started the year? Or, will you be part of the 2%… focused on making more money, paying off debt, achieving their goals and helping others do the same? Let me know below how YOU will handle the holidays!
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In great faith,
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