At WECU, we love the holidays. We’re our best selves during the holidays. We see our parents, we reach out to old friends, and we give to worthy causes. It’s important to look outward at what you can do for others. What’s equally important is to give yourself some gifts this holiday season, in the form of setting boundaries. This can seem selfish. It’s not though. When you set boundaries, strange things happen. When you come from a place of knowing you’re taking care of yourself (and I am not talking about luxury, but instead doing things like getting the rest you need and feeling stable financially) you become a better friend and family member. If you can agree with this, then the question becomes, what boundaries are appropriate? The answer to this, financially, is a budget.

Give yourself the gift of a budget. During the holiday season, it can become very apparent, by the number of things we agree to attend, give to, and sign up for, that most of us have a problem saying “no.” Getting over any shame about living on a budget empowers you. It means you can explain to your friends and family that you’ve started a budget to reach family goals. It’s hard for them to argue with this. This allows you to talk about gift prices and explain that you’re going to spend $25 on gifts this year and give them permission to do the same for you. Perhaps it gives you the opportunity to take part in some, but not all, holiday activities. Especially expensive activities you don’t enjoy that much. The added benefit of this is that maybe the holidays can be restful!

I can give you a personal example about the gift of financial boundaries. This time, involving charity. I know the holiday season means Salvation Army Bell Ringers. So, as the holiday season approaches, I break a $20 bill into ones. That’s what I can afford based on my budget. Now, every time I walk by instead of anxiety, I just give a dollar. When I run out, I run out, knowing I did what I could. And, each time I pop in a dollar I feel good! Give yourself the gift of sanity this holiday and work on your budget.