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Happy holidays, everyone! While I hope you’re excited for the holidays and that you’re able to wrap up this year with all the things you love, it’s important to know that we’re in the time of year where so many start creating spending hangovers for ourselves.

This time of year is often when we start making decisions we live to regret in January. Overspending for the holidays—while it might bring temporary happiness—is only keeping us trapped in a suffering cycle. If you’re hoping not to max out your credit cards this holiday and to avoid that spending hangover in January, here’s what you need to know:

Understand the Motivation Behind Your Spending

Spending hangovers happen for a much simpler reason than you may think. As we’re working through all the things we’re going through in life and all the things happening in the world around us, stuff is happening to us on an emotional level. This is true every year, but this year especially as we all work through 2020’s craziness—a pandemic, economic challenges, being told we’re not supposed to spend the holidays with our loved ones, etc.  A lot of us feel like we’re being clamped down.

This is a lot like when you’re on a budget. You feel clamped down and might want to react like,  “No, get me out of there! I want to spend whatever money I want to spend!” A lot of us react to this clamped-down feeling by spending whatever we want on the holidays, building up debt to bring temporary joy. 

Understand that while this is a normal reaction, it’s keeping you in a debt cycle and sending you straight to a spending hangover in January.

Don’t Act it Out, Work it Out

As human beings, we either work things out or we act them out, and if we act things out then we do so in one of three ways: through our money, our health, or our relationships.

When we act out with our health, we may find ourselves getting sick way more often, even seriously. Acting out in our relationships leads to various types of unhealthy relationships or toxicity in what could have been a healthy relationship. When we act out with our money, we often overspend, create debt, or spend on things we don’t actually care that much about.

This holiday season especially, it’s really important for us to be mindful of ourselves, to dig deep and work out what’s going on inside before we keep spending. Anything we have going on inside us will come out as we spend this holiday season in our efforts to satisfy those unsettled emotions inside ourselves.

Pause the Credit Card Use

I would encourage all of you to avoid swiping your credit cards as much as possible this holiday season. Use cash instead, because we really don’t internalize our spending when we slide credit cards but we do when we see the cash leaving our wallets.

Just like I always talk about, you have to love yourself enough to not slide that credit card; love yourself enough not to lead yourself into a spending hangover in January, wondering how you can possibly pay off the bill you’ve built up over the holidays. You have to choose to be in a space where you can feel your emotions and work through what’s going on inside of you rather than to spend to bring temporary happiness. This way, you can get to the other side and stop repeating the debt and spending cycles. 

Take Your Power Back

It’s really important for us to continue doing the most self loving and self caring things. Debt is just another instrument for how you can be controlled, and when we keep maxing our spending, that’s only providing short term happiness and not sustainable happiness. It’s so important that we take our power back; that we return to a place of our own control and empowerment so we can create exactly the kind of lives we want to create.

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