I’ve heard the following conversation repeatedly from clients who are cash strapped right now. Which prompted me to write today and ask you to at least THINK about the concepts below.Here’s what folks have been telling me:

“I really want to get out of debt. I’m tired of money being tight. We’re struggling to make ends meet every month. AND I want my children to have a really great Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza, etc. So I HAVE to buy them gifts, things they’ve really been wanting. That way, they’ll have a really great memory of this year.

I’ve usually got at least a semblance of lovingkindness going on, but right now I’m taking off the kid gloves.

Let me make this perfectly clear – one really great day full of presents is not going to give them a great memory of this year. Here’s what’s going to happen if you decide to rush out and spend all your savings or take on new debt for the holidays. We justify our actions by saying we’re buying things on sale, or pre-loved, or with coupons. The thing is, we don’t usually walk ourselves through past the moment of joy and excitement with the unwrapping of the presents. So today, I’m writing to give you the full story of what happens when you give your children a “good Christmas” according to our current belief system:

A) You give your children a day of “things” for them to get uber excited about for 10 minutes. and then,

B)  You also give your children the on-going gift of an annual pass to the Festival of Financial Stress which you visit every single day of the coming year.

What if this year is the one year you decide to give them an amazing gift – the gift of family time, spent with the things they already have, with the money going toward creating an amazing new financial freedom? What stress can you relieve if you completely ignore Black Friday and the allure of merry marketing, and instead spend the time, energy and resources toward creating a stress-free year for your family?

Parental guilt can be a strong motivator. All I’m asking is that you think about how strong a motivator it would be for your children to experience a year where they didn’t have to listen to arguments about money, or have to live under the stress and strain of financial worries and woes. Promise me you’ll at least think about doing it different this year. Think about creating true joy and happiness. And then think about what this year will look like if you do!

Peace and prosperity,

Paula Langguth Ryan