How Managing your Emotions can Save you Financial Stress this Festive Season

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The picture above is taken on SABC 1 Yilungelo Lakho programme talking consumer behaviour during the festive season with Alicia the presenter and Eunice head of Consumer education at FNB. So often people will overspend and start of the new year financially stressed and what challenging way to start off a new year journey? Warren Buffet said ”If you can not manage your emotions you can not manage your money”. The majority of us have worked hard throughout the year and we are looking forward to having fun or pleasure during the festive season, unfortunately not many people know how to have fun without spending money. So people spend more than what they can afford anticipating to have more pleasure, so we get tricked by our emotions and through our emotions. And the biggest human value conflict is pleasure versus satisfaction which is immediate gratification versus delayed gratification. The majority of us throughout the year we work up and our emotions are focused towards going to work, getting through the day, dealing with traffic and other demands. Remember emotions drive action, so anytime you feel you want to do something. Now we get bonuses or pay outs from stokvels or our usual salary and for 2 weeks we have either planned to travel or stay at home. If you do travel you will get home, whatever the destination is and you wake up every day your emotions are not directed on anything as such, remember you are used to waking up doing something, so soon you start getting bored and you look for entertainment, maybe you decide to go to the mall. i Always an unfocused emotion is a very dangerous emotion because it will find an outlet and for many this festive season that outlet becomes spending. In the shopping malls marketers are waiting for you, they know which emotions to evoke, colours and packaging and decorations are all set to promise you pleasure and happiness and before you know it, you are carrying boxes and plastics of things you never intended to buy. It is also the gifting season so often people will justify buying and feel less guilty because they are buying for others, but if you are buying for others when you have not saved up for it then you probably can’t afford it and it is time we are honest with ourselves instead of fearing embarrassment and shame we say that we can’t afford. And because emotions are always messages embarrassment is a message that we must accept ourselves as we are, and shame is simply an indication that we can improve ourselves and the question to ask becomes how can I afford it next time? Others use spending to drown their sorrows and anxieties for the whole year and again messages, what changes needs to happen so that anxiety disappear complete as buying is only soothing it for a little while. Others will be driven by inferiority and superiority, all signs of insecurity and we buy to cover up, and all competition and comparison is driven by insecurity. And the only antidote for insecurity which is a sign of lack of self-realization is self-awareness, individuating to connect with your true authentic self, your value system so that all earning and spending decisions are driven by one’s value system instead of the outside world, that goals are set that are not conflicting one’s value system. Often people end up not setting financial goals because they are not achieving them, and the real reason is not because they are unattainable but that they are outside one’s value system and due to lack of self awareness we get frustrated from not achieving what is probably not in alignment with who we really are. So tips to manage emotions around money this festive season:

  1. Develop self-awareness (values, beliefs, emotional needs etc)
  2. Meet your emotional because unmet emotional needs can get you distracted.
  3. Set financial goals aligned to your value system
  4. Know your financial freedom number (asset base you need to build to afford the same standard of life when you retire)
  5. Have fun creating and spending money for satisfaction rather than pleasure

Wish you a financially stress free festive season

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