Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
By Dee Dee Sung
Call 248-205-1453 to open a “Paramount Partners Line” Checking or Savings Account by By Jan. 20 and receive a copy of Dee Dee Sung’s book “The Debt Free Diva – From Self Worth to Net Worth” as a gift from Paramount Bank!
Simple holidays, showing love
Q. Dear Debt Free Diva, This year, I’m feeling very stressed about the holidays and heading into the New Year. I recently lost my job and my partner and I are living off of one income. It’s been hard enough making the adjustment and I’m feeling guilty that I won’t be able to enjoy the holidays with my partner like we’re used to. I’ve maxed out on my credit cards just making ends meet and am afraid to go into more debt. I’m feeling angry and hopeless and am dreading the holidays. It’s also creating a lot of stress in my relationship and I want to avoid talking about it. I don’t like putting the financial burden on my partner and don’t know what to do.
A. I can empathize with where you’re currently at. Not only have I been there, I’ve had many people contact me who are in similar situations. The holiday season can be a difficult and stressful time of year and it’s important to know you’re not alone. With all the layoffs, so many people are feeling a sense of dread as the holidays come upon us. There is so much pressure to spend a lot of money and indulge your loved ones with presents galore, many of which carry a hefty price tag! We tend to believe that this split second of gift giving pleasure will relieve the guilt of however we didn’t show up during the year. It’s interesting that this time of the year has everything and nothing to do with money.
I understand the pain that you’re feeling around wanting to enjoy the holidays, while at the same time, feeling so many negative emotions. The key is “simplicity” and the first thing I want you to do is take some deep breaths and remind yourself that this situation is temporary and in no way reflects who you are as a person. It feels like you’ve been carrying around this stress and keeping it to yourself. It’s important that you be open with your partner and tell the truth about how you’re feeling. Acknowledge the pressure you’ve been under and that your intention is not to become a burden or push them away. Our natural tendency is to carry on like we’ve got the problem handled and that we’re the only one that can fix it. Quite the opposite! It’s during these times that we absolutely allow the people we love and respect to support us, and the only way they can is when we open up and tell them what we need from them.
The holidays will be what you create them to be and the reality is that it doesn’t have to take a lot of money to make them special. As for the practical side of going through the season on a tight budget, it’s important to determine how much money you are willing to allocate for the holidays. If you’re used to hosting the holiday feast, perhaps this is a year to ask your guests to each contribute something. With respect to gift giving, create an agreement with your partner as to what you’re going to do this year. Perhaps you can both decide to hold a celebration once you’re employed which will relieve the pressure of spending money you don’t have in the short term, not to mention give you both something to look forward to!
Remember that the holidays are a time to come together and share the spirit of who we are rather than showing up with a car full of gifts that secretly we resent as we know the credit card bills will be arriving in January. Be willing to do that which honors who you are and your circumstances at this point in time. Share with your partner, family and friends exactly what you’re going through so there will be no need for them to second guess where you’re at. This in turn will relieve your guilt and lift a heavy weight of expectations off your shoulders.
Above all, be grateful for what you do have rather than focusing on what’s not working in your life. This can be a good time for getting your financial house in order. There can be a tendency to “zone out” and not want to look at reality when there’s more money going out than coming in. Take the time to list your debts and determine what income you need to generate. This will help to clarify your next course of action.
Telling the truth and moving forward one day at a time will build your confidence and ensure that your short term setbacks will turnaround in the New Year!