Jangled Nerves (sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)

Jangled Nerves (sung to the tune of Jingle Bells)

Jangled Nerves, Jangled Nerves, Jangled all the way.
Oh what fun it is to charge next year’s raise away, hey!

Dashing through the mall,
with credit card in hand,
buying gifts for all,
spending while we can.

Now we’re having fun,
spending on gifts, food and frills
but then comes January one
And all the credit card bills, oh!

Jangled Nerves, Jangled Nerves, Jangled all the way.
Oh what fun it is to charge next year’s raise away, hey!

I’m all about Christmas, but I’m also all about making sure that my values and my spending match. We see so many people stressed out with credit cards, or inability to meet expenses, or not accomplishing their real goals who admit to spending more than they should at the holidays. There are many ways to make the holidays fun and filled with love without creating stress for next year. I’ve spoken with many families who felt the stress and would say, “I’d like to change the gift giving expenses, but my whole family is into it!” The funny part has been that when I checked with other family members, they all said the same thing. All that was needed was someone brave enough to start the conversation. Here are some creative solutions I have seen that have brought joy and budget reductions at the same time!

Extended Family Strategies:

  • White elephant gifts (nice but unwanted items, intentional re-gifting, or thrift store gifts under $15). Each person brings one gift and numbers are handed out. Number one picks a package, number two can take from number one or pick a different package. At the end, number one can steal any gift. Of course, at the end any trading or bartering is fair.
  • Drawing names so each person only buys one person a gift with an amount limit, like $60.
  • No gifts for adults, who draw the names for children, so each child gets a gift. Then each adult contributes a set amount (such as $50) and it’s then spread across the children’s 529 plans. This sends the message that we ALL expect you to go to college or trade school, which has shown to be a powerful determinant of whether a child continues education in later years.
  • I promise gifts of time. With this one, each person thinks of something that the others would want, such as cleaning out the garage, catered meal, etc., and sets a date to spend time doing it.
  • Give a Fiscal Fitness Club Membership as a gift! We admit that it costs money, but we promise that it will save more and next year everyone will have a reasonable holiday budget. Click here to visit our services page or give us a call at 720-507-8535.

Core Family Strategies:

  • A budget set for each person to spend on a defined family combined wish.  This could be a vacation, a trip to an amusement park, ski passes, college funding, visit to grandparents, etc. Everyone is then encouraged to give inexpensive meaningful gifts with the balance of funds being contributed to the family’s wish.
  • Picking names and setting a budget per recipient.
  • I promise gifts of time.
  • Every family member looks at the three months ahead of the holidays to find ways for earning extra money. That money is then set aside for gift giving.  For example, a weekend stocking shift at a local store, lawn cutting, snow shoveling, extra shift at work, chores around the house, etc. Each family member has a set amount to earn based on their age and ability. This makes it a family affair.

All of these strategies can be ways of both reducing costs, teaching children valuable lessons by separating money from joy, while still honoring the tradition and love for family and friends.

Remember that if you’re a club member, your coach is available to help you set up a realistic holiday budget. If you’re not a club member, it’s easy to become one. You can even surprise your spouse by making it a gift! Call us today at 720-507-8535 or send us an email at info@fiscalfitnessclubs.com.

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Comment (1)

  • Robin D. Pearsall Reply

    I love these seeds of financial management.
    Another one: Strategies for Giving Back
    Kohl’s is selling absolutely adorable, sizable, stuffed cartoon characters and animals FOR $5 EACH. Yay, Kohl’s! Or if you are a garage sale hobbyist, you will find new & gently used great gifts, at rock bottom prices, especially if you share your purpose with the homeowner.

    November 29, 2015 at 11:14 am

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