As someone who writes a personal finance blog, you would probably expect me to have a whole bunch of ideas about how to have a really cheap holiday over the Christmas period and some extra tips on how to save money on everything from wrapping paper to New Years Eve crackers.
I’m sorry, I don’t.
I’ve spent more money in the last couple of weeks than I care to think about. I’ve bought a bunch of lavish gifts, gallons of alcohol (mostly for myself :)) and a metric ton (that’s right, I’m Australian) of food that didn’t even go close to fitting into my shopping budget.
Know what though? I’m happy.
Sure I get the odd twinge thinking about how quickly my family and I have been able to burn cash and there is a good chance that there might be some belt tightening in the weeks to come, but all in all I’m pretty damn happy.
Holidays are for holiday-ing
I’ve got to confess that 2013 was a pretty shitty year. There were a few highlights, but generally it was pretty much a write off. I didn’t really take a break from work, I lost focus and motivation for a lot of projects that I had planned for the year and I let a lot of very minor things bother me far more than I should have.
This Christmas break has been exactly what I needed. I needed to switch off, I needed to relax and unwind and I needed to feel like I could reward myself and my family for making it through a pretty tough year.
Unfortunately it took such a long time and such a significant personal impact to realise that holidays are for holiday-ing!
No one can withhold personal reward forever, it just isn’t healthy. Slaving away at work, on budgets, monitoring savings plans, developing side hustles and doing everything else you can to save money is hard work. Far too hard to go un-rewarded for an extended period of time, which is why holidays need to be extravagant and regular.
My New Years Resolution
I like to think that I get smarter as I get older, often it takes a while for me to realise things, but I usually take notice eventually.
In the last two weeks I’ve felt like I’ve been transformed. I feel better, more alert and my motivation is returning (I’m still in holiday mode). Somewhere in the last couple of years of trying to push as hard as I can, I forgot how good it can be to simply stop doing everything and do the complete opposite.
Unsurprisingly I had absolutely no resolutions for the New Year, but as I start to warm up again I’ve got at least one that I plan to keep as reoccurring.
Take more holidays.
Not just time off, but holidays. Go places I don’t regularly go to, buy things I don’t regularly buy. Throw concepts of productivity out the window, sleep during the day, read fiction, watch videos, or even really crap television, download massively time consuming apps on my iPhone or forgo technology altogether.
Do different stuff and forget about the restrictions!
I’ve got to say that having a real holiday has been the best thing I’ve forgotten how to do in quite some time and I plan to do more of it far more regularly in the future. That doesn’t mean I’m throwing everything out the window, I’m just going to be more mindful of life wealth instead of just financial wealth.
Here’s to a great 2014!
Image by apdk