Iremember back when, as a child, the holiday season was kind of the highlight of the year. A new princess dress, a new pair of shoes, some gifts here and there, and the shopping spree excitement. Things have changed a bit now that we are adults. We are now the ones footing the bill and then some!
Maybe you are solely responsible for this kind of experience for your kids. You also want to have some fun of your own, like hanging out with friends or traveling for a vacation. Then we have the black tax conundrum where loved ones, especially family members, have already earmarked your December salary for their enjoyment.
With all these activities, it’s no wonder a lot of people incur debt during the holiday season. Not forgetting financial stress and anxiety, especially when dealing with friends and family. That’s where setting financial boundaries comes in.
@enidkathambi Avoid financial stress in January with these money management tips for the holiday season. #holidayseason #holidayplanning #holidaybudget #personalfinance #personalfinancetips #personalfinances #personalfinance101 #financialplanning #financialfreedom #financialliteracy #financialeducation #financetiktok #finance101 #financetok ♬ Gentle Fact – DJ BAI
Why It’s Important to Set Financial Boundaries
Setting financial boundaries might sound daunting, and it can be, especially if you are dealing with loved ones who are not used to such. But this superpower is key to navigating the holiday season with your budget and relationships intact. Here’s why it’s important to take this step this holiday season:
Let’s face it—the holidays can be stressful. Adding financial strain to the mix only exacerbates the situation. Establishing clear boundaries reduces the stress associated with overspending and financial uncertainty. It allows you to bask in the season’s joy without the looming cloud of financial worries.
Related read: Is Financial Trauma Keeping You From Financial Freedom?
Avoiding Resentment and Misunderstandings
Believe it or not, discussing money doesn’t have to be the Grinch stealing your holiday cheer. In fact, setting financial boundaries can strengthen relationships. Clear communication about limitations can foster understanding and prevent resentment that might arise if expectations aren’t aligned. It’s the difference between a harmonious holiday gathering and a tense dinner table discussion.
Saying No with Confidence
Remember that awkward feeling when someone asks for a loan you can’t afford? Boundaries give you the strength to say no without guilt. Remember, you can’t offer support if your own financial ship is sinking.
Avoid Long-Term Financial Impact
The consequences of overspending during the holidays often linger long after the decorations are packed away. Debt accrued during this time can snowball into a burden that persists well into the new year. By setting financial boundaries, you’re investing in your financial future, ensuring a smoother transition into the next chapter without the weight of unnecessary expenses.
Setting a Positive Example
By setting healthy financial boundaries, you’re not just helping yourself; you’re also influencing your loved ones. You’re demonstrating responsible money management, open communication, and the importance of prioritizing financial well-being. This can have a ripple effect, promoting healthy financial habits throughout the family or friend group.
Tips to Set Financial Boundaries with Loved Ones this Holiday Season
Setting financial boundaries with loved ones can be challenging, but ensuring you don’t overspend and jeopardize your financial goals is essential. Here are some tips on how to set financial boundaries with loved ones this holiday season:
Have a Holiday Budget and Stick to it
Before you start shopping for gifts or planning holiday events, ensure you have a holiday budget in place. Make sure to include all your expenses, such as gifts, travel, food, and decorations. Use your budget as a guide for spending. It will help you avoid overspending or getting into debt.
Ready to create your holiday budget? Get my budget planner and get started
Communicate with Your Loved Ones
It’s crucial to communicate with your loved ones about your financial situation and set expectations early on. Let them know that you’re on a budget and won’t be able to spend as much as in previous years. You can also suggest alternative ways of celebrating the holidays that don’t involve spending much money, such as potluck dinners or DIY gifts.
Looking for a financial gift? Here are the top options to consider
Learn to Say No
The holiday season is one of the periods when the black tax really becomes quite a burden. Besides catering to the usual immediate family needs, like your parents and siblings, you are likely to receive financial requests from extended family members and long-lost relatives.
Think of uncles needing a few shillings for the local brew and some nyama choma at the local joint. Or aunties needing some help to top up their chama contributions. Or cousins and long-lost peers wanting to spend a few hours at the local joint where every drink and meal is on your tab. Honestly, the list goes on.
As much as you want to please your loved ones during the holidays, it’s okay to say no. Don’t feel obligated to attend every holiday event. Or buy gifts for everyone. Or fund every relative’s or friend’s holiday buzz. Learn to prioritize and focus on what’s essential.
If you can’t afford to attend an event, buy a gift, or hand out money for whatever reason, politely decline and explain your situation. Your loved ones will understand and appreciate your honesty.
Learn more about black tax from this podcast episode
And Don’t Fall for Guilt Trips
Navigating guilt trips and societal pressure during the holidays can feel like tiptoeing through a minefield. Some phrases like, “But it’s tradition!” or “Everyone else is doing it!” or “Are you forgetting that time when I did this and that for you?”
These phrases, while innocent on the surface, can tug at heartstrings and make setting financial boundaries feel like you’re ruining the holiday fun for everyone. But this couldn’t be any further from the truth.
Remember, prioritizing your financial well-being is not selfish; it’s responsible. Practice assertive communication with phrases like, “I love you, and I want to celebrate with you, but I need to be mindful of my budget.” You’re taking care of yourself, not being Scrooge!
Or Falling for Money Lending Tricks
You have said no to handouts. And aren’t falling for guilt trips either. But have you met friends and family members who try to borrow money by all means necessary? From “I’ll pay you back real soon” and “It’s just a small loan” to “It’s a really urgent matter.”
Be wary of loved ones pulling this card. They might paint a sob story about a broken furnace or urgent travel needs, hoping to tug at your heartstrings. Remember, “I’ll pay you back real soon” often turns into a slippery slope of more borrowing or ignored and blocked calls.
Be firm yet compassionate, explaining your own financial priorities and offering emotional support instead of monetary bailouts. Remember, lending during a time of high spending can drain everyone’s pockets, so prioritize your own financial well-being and offer non-monetary support where possible.
As you navigate managing your finances this holiday season without getting yourself into financial trouble, remember to set financial boundaries with friends and family. The lack of financial boundaries is the kind of thing that will get you into financial trouble in the new year.
However, setting financial boundaries with loved ones during the holiday season can be challenging. But it’s essential to ensure you don’t overspend and jeopardize your financial goals.
The holiday season should be more about spending time and making memories. How much money you can spend or dish out should be inconsequential.
How do I start a conversation about financial boundaries without causing tension?
Choose a relaxed setting and be honest and approachable. Approach the conversation empathetically, emphasizing that setting boundaries is about responsible financial planning, not restricting joy. Be honest about your budget constraints and encourage open dialogue by asking for others’ thoughts on managing expenses.
What if my family or friends don’t understand my financial limitations?
It’s common for people to have different perspectives on finances. If they don’t initially grasp your limitations, reiterate your stance calmly and kindly. Share your reasons for setting boundaries, emphasizing your commitment to enjoying the holidays without financial stress. Offer alternative celebration ideas that align with your budget while focusing on shared experiences.
How do I deal with guilt trips from loved ones who want me to overspend?
Guilt trips can be challenging, but staying firm yet gentle in your response is crucial. Reaffirm your budget boundaries and explain that your financial well-being matters. Redirect the focus to enjoying quality time together instead of emphasizing material aspects. Offer compromises or alternative ways to participate in the festivities without overspending.
What if someone asks to borrow money during the holidays?
Be cautious about lending money during this time. Kindly decline or politely redirect the request, emphasizing your financial commitments and the importance of maintaining your budget. Consider discussing financial assistance after the holiday season when both parties have a clearer financial picture.