Marriages and business have more in common than you would think at first blush. Perhaps the most common denominator between the two has to do with money. Couples fight over money just like businesses fight over money, that is, couples and departments fight about not having enough money in their budget, about spending over budget or about not having a budget at all. In my upcoming book I discuss how couples who ignore the business aspect of their relationship do so at their own peril.
With the holiday season in full gear, and businesses winding down their year, the issue of money comes to life in full force. After all, it costs money to purchase all these gifts, cards, food etc. Following are 3 simple ways to STOP FIGHTING about money so you can enjoy your holiday season, and not run for cover when the credit cards comes due.
1. Discuss and create a budget. Sometimes we think that what our partner doesn’t know about how much money we spend during the holiday season won’t hurt him – or us. Fatal mistake – sooner or later the credit card bill comes due – and if you spend cash, well, you are creating cracks in your relationship with untruths. Communicate with your partner about the financial aspect of the holiday season and find a way to come to terms on a realistic budget. The key word here is realistic. Then – coming from a place of sincerity, do your best to stay on budget and if you go over budget, share this information with your partner.
2. Just like Santa – make a list of everyone who you will purchase gifts for this holiday season – and I do mean everyone. Many couples will create a budget but then never discuss how many people they are shopping for that need to be included in their budget. You can see what an impossible task this may be for some. So create a budget and then create an all-inclusive list from the mailman to the kid’s teacher and everyone in between.
3. Avoid impulsive and last minute purchases. Just because something is on sale – that doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Marketers are very smart and very clever, they know exactly how to get you to buy something that you either do not need, or do not want and never planned on buying when you first stepped foot in the store. Tip: do not leave your home to go shopping without your list and budget in hand. And then stay disciplined and restrained by staying within the budget.
Rather than feeling like you are depriving yourself of a purchase that goes over your budget, shift your mindset and make it a game to stay within your budget. This mindset shift will help you tremendously – it will make you feel good about not buying an item that is over-budget rather than feeling badly about it.
What about those you forgot to put on your list when you created your budget and list? So you aren’t plagued by guilt because you didn’t include your hairdresser or favorite substitute teacher on your list – but you remembered them as you were shopping – be creative and make them something that requires little money. For example, buy ten pretty baskets from the dollar store and bake cookies for them. People love gifts that require time – because nobody has enough of it these days -especially during the holidays!
Enjoy the holidays and remember – it truly is the thought that counts during this gift giving time of year.
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