financial boundaries

How to navigate the holidays by setting financial boundaries

financial boundaries financial health Dec 01, 2020


The holidays are quickly approaching and will look different this year secondary to the pandemic. However, no matter what your financial situation, holidays can bring financial stress. Get on top of this stress, by giving yourself the best gift ever: Financial Boundaries. 

Establish Financial Boundaries


Financial boundaries allow you to decide who, when, where, and how you want to spend your money.  This is an important part of building a relationship with your money. Boundaries let you set clear expectations on how you engage with your money.   Boundaries bring clarity and confidence and reduce stress, overwhelm, mindlessness, and many other things. They are important to have as you navigate your financial journey and financial decision making that will present itself daily, in relationships, amongst your family, community, and especially around the holidays. 


Financial boundaries also affect how you allow money to affect your relationships. For example, culturally, there may be expectations to support family members. Often, around the holidays there may be stress related to giving, how much, when, and to who. With clients, I often see that they themselves are not able to fully realize there money goals. There has been no thought or consideration to what they need to build financial health for themselves, thus giving without much thought or consideration. Another example is religious tithing. These are all things that should be considered and thought through. These things can be particularly stressful around holidays. 


Make a plan


Decide ahead of time, how, when, and where you will spend your money. Why not put together a list of everything you anticipate to spend including food, gifts, decorations, and their associated costs. A simple excel sheet is all that is needed. Doing this gives you a road map and will make you less likely to veer off track. If you are unsure what is reasonable, make a date with yourself, a friend, or your partner to outline our why during the holiday season. Mindfully reflect on what matters. Is it to serve? Is it to spend time with family and friends? Is it to practice minimalism? Is it a religious tradition? Also, it is important to think about others and how they could be impacted this holiday season. 


Communicate your plan


Once you have a plan in place, it will be important to communicate it. If there is ever a year where communication is important, it is this year. You could even use the pandemic as a preface, "Considering everything going on this year, our plan/contribution will be ...". A lot of my work includes working with clients on boundaries. If you don't have boundaries, you may feel drained, exhausted, or overwhelmed. Having boundaries equals self-care, focus, truth, strength, and respect. Let's flesh this out, you are caring for yourself by identifying that the holidays can cause financial stress. You are focusing on identifying your values and communicating them ahead of time. Making a plan is a reflection of your financial truth and limitations. You are gaining strength by taking responsibility and communicating to others how and/or how much you will contribute. And, finally, you are earning respect from yourself and others by sticking to your plan. 

Practice Mindfulness


Breathe, connect, stay present, and most of all spread joy and cheer in this uncertain time. The holiday season goes quickly and sometimes we forget to care for ourselves because we get out of our routines. As financial stress isn't the only stress you may experience during the holiday season, remember to be good to yourself. Take 10-15 minutes daily to do a mindful activity. Or, being caring or compassionate to yourself can be simple as a less than a minute gesture. My favorite one is to wrap my arms around myself, close my eyes, take a deep breath, and hug myself. 


In summary, the holidays are about connecting with family, friends, and your community. Although you may feel that there are expectations to bring gifts, you are enough of a gift by thinking of others, participating in a meaningful way, or by connecting with yourself or others in a compassionate way. Let that guide you in your planning and gift giving and you will experience many returns. 


Where to from here


Connect with or follow me on Instagram or Facebook if you want to learn more about values based living and decision making, creating a healthy relationship with money, or to see more fun adventures.  

Questions: email [email protected]

Mariah Hudler, MSW, MBA, CFT-I™ is a therapeutically informed financial wealth & wellbeing coach. She works with individuals, couples, families, entrepreneurs, groups, and organizations to make Wealth & Wellbeing a joyful part of life.

Disclaimer: This blog is for education only. Please consult with a qualified professional when you have any questions about your personal financial, tax, or legal situation. Information contained in this post is for informational purposes only and not intended to replace professional advice.

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