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  • Marie Peach

A Chilled-Out Christmas Money Mindset in 6 steps

Updated: Nov 3

Perhaps oddly for a money mindset coach, Christmas is one of those times when I don’t always encourage abundance. It can be a time when my clients feel the most guilt and stress, and overspend for all kinds of reasons - many related to their mindset around money or gift-giving.


In our house, a chilled Christmas is 50% planning and 50% how you look at it. Here are my mindset hacks to surviving the festive season with your dignity, bank balance and marbles intact. And if you haven’t started thinking about it yet, read on anyway. I want you to get ahead with these tips so you can really rock Christmas this year without over-giving, guilt or stress.


1. Save for gifts all year round. Affirmation Statement = 'I am a person who thinks ahead' When I finally admitted that Christmas happens reliably every year, and always costs money it was a game changer. The same when it comes to birthdays. We are all naturally ‘present-biased’ which means many of us aren’t great at imagining the needs of our future selves. There are so many ways you could start saving throughout the year, and if you don't do this yet, start in January while this year’s spend is still fresh. You might find this needs a mindset shift to change how you feel about yourself. If you constantly tell yourself you’re the kind of person who doesn’t save or plan for the future, guess what? That’s exactly what you’ll be. Forever. Beliefs are everything so change this around now. In practical terms, what worked for me was Chip. It calculates how much you can afford to put aside each time without missing it, and just moves the money. My gift fund uses this method and also covers birthdays, anniversaries and miscellaneous gifts throughout the year. Painless.

2. Have a family limit, and decide it early. Affirmation Statement = 'Boundaries create space and calm in my life instead of restriction.' As in my own extended family, there might be people in your family who earn more or less than each other, and if you’re someone who earns more, the temptation will be to spend big – especially on kids, partners or close friends. If you earn more, it feels great to give lots but it can upset family members who are more restricted. Don’t leave it to chance – decide now what everyone’s spending. We now have so many people in our wider family that we have the same limit for everyone, except (your own) children. If you have kids, the rule in our family is that you only buy presents for your own kids – and kids don’t have to buy adults gifts, which - let's face it - the adults have picked out and paid for anyway. The logic is this: you’ve already bought me a gift so you don’t have to buy me a smaller one ‘from’ your 6 month old baby.


We’ve followed these rules for years and it works like a dream.

3. Children don’t need presents. Affirmation Statement = 'Less can be more.' Wait. Before you throw things at the childless lady, let me explain. Your kids might want a bunch of stuff, and it feels so good to be able to give them what they want, but it’s rare that they need any of it. Try not to feel overwhelmed or backed into a corner by the competition when it comes to making sure they get what everyone else has. (Spoiler alert, they’ll never have everything everyone else has.) Of course, I’m not suggesting you don’t buy them anything! Only that a more chilled out Christmas is all about, yup that's right, setting boundaries and sticking to them. Decide with your partner if you have one, or decide yourself what your spending limit is and stick to the plan. That’s it. It’s also okay for stockings to be stocking-sized, and not the size of a duvet cover. Christmas is a time of luxury and abundance, but the rest of the year can be a bit more luxurious too if you haven’t spent all your money in one week in December. If it makes you feel awful to cut back on the number of presents you’d normally give at Christmas, space out other presents during the year perhaps – end of term gifts, exam presents and other rewards that they’ll love might work well. A good rule of thumb for spending on kids - if you feel a bit panicky about the cost, whether or not you can afford it, you're spending too much. Dial it back.

4. Secret santa is not just for the office. Affirmation Statement = 'I am flexible and open to new traditions.' Many people now do secret Santa in families or in friend groups. Consider it - you get to give, and receive, one good present instead of shopping for a pile of things. It can get out of hand when you start to spiral about whether Nicola might feel left out if you don’t buy them something matches up Jennifer's present. Give your brain a break and put the names in a hat instead.

5. Start early. Affirmation Statement = 'I am organised, that's why I enjoy Christmas so much.' BE that woman who creates a spreadsheet and asks for Christmas lists in September. Wrap the presents (in paper not foiled stuff, so you can recycle it) as you buy them and keep track of them on a list. This is a wonderful simple life technique that means you can have everything tied up by the beginning of December and actually enjoy the season. Yes really! And here’s the thing. When you finish early (smug face allowed) and you start to see things in shops don’t be tempted to buy more. Our brains like to forget that we've spent the money already (present bias, remember) and decide to buy a new wave of gifts. Resist. If you have money left over that was earmarked for Christmas, spend it on celebrating.

6. Don’t be tempted by a Christmas credit card. Affirmation statement - 'I am and have enough, and never feel pressured to live beyond my means.' I’m pretty sure you know this because you're smart, but Christmas is not worth getting into debt over. A few years ago, I had an especially low-budget Christmas where I painted mini canvases for my family and didn’t buy presents for friends. No one cared a jot. I didn't know how to paint, I followed a step-by-step YouTube video and they turned out ok, I think! Everyone will cope with a lower budget Christmas on every level including who you can visit and the food you buy. Yes, even the kids. They’re pretty lovely really, those small humans, because you raised them. Don’t underestimate how much they’ll understand if you have to cut right back one year. And - this is so important - one mindset that comes into play this time of year is the one where people try to give their kids the Christmas they never had. Don’t be tempted to do this. Your kids weren’t around for that Christmas when you had a lump of coal and an orange in your stocking so they can’t compare. They get the Christmas you give them no matter what and they will flippin’ love it!



Let me know what resonates for you here, either in the comments below or in my Facebook group, Heart and Soul Money .


And, if you're finding ways to increase your income but have a fear of raising your prices – read this guide - How to Confidently Raise your Prices




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