While visiting a department store recently, I noticed how busy they were for the coming holiday season. This observation started me wondering how many consumers are as prepared for the coming season in the same way as the stores.
In every department of the store you observed the clerks, they were busy getting the decorations ready for the holidays. I immediately thought, oh dear the children are not even back to school for a month, and are still wearing summer clothes but here comes the toys. Some parents are still in the process of attempting to purchase, pants for legs that grew two or three inches this summer or feet that went from size 6 to 7:50 and now the holiday merchandise is staring in their faces.
The stores are not concerned about how ready we are their job is to get us to spend money and then spend some more. This is business, and those businesses know the early bird gets the worm. The company is getting a head start by showing us what is available for the holidays. Three months away. That action tells me they have had a plan in place and they are now putting their plan in action. They are forward thinking. This is the date they set months ago to launch their holiday business plan. Therefore it must begin, nothing will stand in their way. I am certain there is a cost factor of how much to spend on salaries to get the merchandise in place for the season. They will not exceed that amount. The expected profit margin has been calculated and repeated several times to the staff and its imbedded in their memory. They are ready for the holidays. Are you? Do you have a plan? If not there is time for you to prepare.
All the couples and singles I work with on their spending plan are ready. They all have special accounts to take care of the expenses they plan to incur during the holiday season. Their money is available and easily accessible. No credit cards. The key word here is, PLAN. They have a plan. They are prepared and ready as soon as they choose to begin their holiday shopping. They have a limit and they will stick to it.
Here are a few suggestions those of you who do not have someone like me to be your financial navigator.
- Take a page from business. Run your finances like a business.
- Start early and stay focus on your plan.
- Take advantage of those warm days; sit quietly for a few minutes and think about the people you would like to give gifts this holiday season
- Write a list of their names and across from their names write the amount you wish to spend for each person.
- Then think of what this person would like. Write that down next to their names.
- Now spend some time on line checking your favorite websites searching for those items.
- Check the cost, does it match your planned price? If not reevaluate that could mean you may have to change the item.
- Most importantly keep this list with at all times. You might be able to purchase what you have chosen for your family and friends at a discount price. Items are always on sale. You can pounce on it only if you are prepared.
Try those simple steps; you will be surprise to see the difference it will make in your stress level, your mental health, and your financial health this holiday season.