Planning for Perception or Preference?

It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is almost upon us. The leaves have dropped along with the temperature and the dreaded snowfall is imminent. It’s a time where you crave carbs, curl up in sweaters and begin the hibernation process.

PerceptionUnfortunately, we are not bears and are not afforded the luxury of shutting ourselves down for a few months. At a time where all you want to do is snuggle under a blanket on the couch and binge watch all the shows you missed while doing yardwork, the demands of family, friends and work dramatically increase.

Tis the season of holiday shopping, parties and entertaining. Tis the season to exert extreme drain on our energy, wardrobe and pocketbook. Tis the season to spend.

Before you start making your list and checking it twice, it may be time to ask yourself why. Here’s a few scenarios:

  1. You’re invited to a work holiday party. Now the panic begins. What do you wear? Your first instinct will be to run out and buy a new outfit, shoes and accessories. Stop, ask why? First look through your closet, it’s very likely you have a classic outfit which would look fantastic. If that is the case, why would you buy a new one? Who are you looking to impress and do you need to?
  2. You’re hosting a soiree. If you’ve ever hosted an event at your house, you have an idea of how much it costs in both time and money. You run around cleaning your house until it’s spic and span so no one will know what it normally looks like. If these are the people you’re inviting into your home, your sanctuary, do you think they will care if there’s a little dust on the top of the mirror? If they do, perhaps you need to ask why you invite them into your home. Now comes the cost of all the party decorations, accessories, food and drink. When you add that all up, maybe it’s time to suggest meeting at a restaurant/lounge instead.
  3. You need to complete your holiday shopping. We’ve talked about this before and how easy it is to blow your budget even on a small list of people to buy for. Sit down with your list, assign an amount to each person. Then ask, why am I buying for them or why am I spending so much?

In a world where social media is the standard by which people exist, it’s easy to get sucked into the spend. The hard part is identifying if you’re doing it because you really want to or because you want to impress someone. Psychological studies have shown how much impact a like or a share affects our psyche and confidence. Why is that worth the stress and strain on your wallet?