I've noticed two things during this season, firstly people begin to notice how tired they are and secondly people begin to spend money because they are tired. Not only is this a more expensive time of year for people generally due to the holidays, but there is a financial cost to busyness and tiredness that I began to see when I actively started budgeting and looking in detail at where I was spending. Firstly, I found that I cooked less from scratch and ate more take out or convenience foods, secondly I was choosing more costly activities for entertainment because I just wanted to sit and do nothing and finally the sheer exhaustion let the thought "I'd feel so much better if I could just get away" creep into my every day thinking!
I've been helping friends with finances, or more correctly helping them budget and again I'm seeing the trend that many big purchases particularly holidays and vacations were made in exhaustion, usually during winter when they desperately needed a break. So, I've been reflecting on what reduces tiredness and increases joy in anticipation of what is around the corner and I thought I'd share some ideas I came up with to prevent that extra spending!
Ways of preventing weariness and big spending...!
- Going to bed 30 minutes earlier and making it a routine!
- Having a library book on hand ready to read so that the evenings when you crash at home you are not tempted to purchase a book at the book shop first
- Consistently sticking to 3 fruits, 3 veg, the right amount of protein and dairy each day, this gives more energy and a better ability to cope
- Cooking food in advance, so that you have soups, casseroles etc waiting in the freezer for you for those busy nights where you have little time!
- Keeping your house clean and in order (this prevents many from calling in a cleaning service while in crisis mode!)
- Bundling up and taking an evening walk, making this part of a routine each day when possible
- Meditating, relaxing, praying
- Being realistic about your time & commitments! Two evening commitments a week are enough for me!
- Taking time for pleasure - seeing friends at the weekend
- Learn a new hobby - knitting, cooking, baking, sewing are all great hobbies for the winter season
- Being thankful! I go to bed thankful for 3 things during my day, this helps me remain positive instead of negative because let's face it sometimes you don't feel like 1 thing went well that day :)
- Getting outside for sunlight - if I go too long without sun, I start to imagine warm beaches during the dead of winter...this is dangerous thinking for my budget :)
- Plan your holiday/summer etc - knowing that you have good times awaiting you will help you grin and bear the busy season now
- Keep it simple - there is no point having time off over the holidays and being busy 12-16 hours a day, going back to work more exhausted than before your vacation days, I try to keep at least two days before Christmas and two days after Christmas as quiet home days, where the family does nothing more than take a long walk, enjoy good food and relax!
- Remember spring is just around the corner!!!
I'd love to hear from you, do you find you spend more during busy seasons in your life? What do you do to relax without spending money?