The holiday season is one again upon us. For some, it can be a period of financial challenges. What to buy for that special someone in your life? Can we afford to get that item(s) for our friend(s)? Do we have enough in the budget to cover our ever-growing list of must have purchases for our loved ones?

And those thoughts aren’t isolated to just Black Friday. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. What about “Cyber Monday”? Ever heard of “Click-Frenzy”? Of course, there is the largest holiday of them all, Christmas, looming large in the not-too-distant future. With all of these sales, one after another, it sure does seem that the end of year is a rough time for our bank accounts!

Only, it doesn’t have to be.

Who said we have to spend anything at all? As a famously minimalist duo once quipped, everything is 100% off if you don’t buy it.

But the sales! Think of the sales!

Yeah, and guess what, they will come, and they will go, and they will come again. Do you think if you don’t buy that item right now it will vanish off the face of the earth? That you won’t be able to purchase it, if you really do need it, via some other online marketplace, shopfront or physical store?

How about a better ‘deal’. Don’t trade material items to proclaim your love. Instead, show up for those people in your life that you care about. Share your time, invest in experiences.

This year, as every year, you will be shown adverts that guilt you into thinking you need to buy something for someone, in order to show them how much you love them. Take a step back for a moment. If you are hunting for a way to spend less on your surrogate love-object, doesn’t that mean you don’t love said person 100%? What does it mean if you purchase something half price? Or two for one?

It can be difficult to un-learn the false message that has been drummed into you from an early age, that quantifying love is best done at this time of the year through token purchases. For a moment, really think about whether that is truly the best way you can show someone how much you value them.

Why not offer them the gift of your time, your companionship, show them how valued they are by giving them a call instead of a card. If you are invited somewhere and still feel the need to exchange an item, why not make, cook or craft something for your hosts. Something you have put time, effort and attention into is much more valuable than a one-click purchase with free next-day shipping. After all, how much time does it really take to enter in some credit card details?

This is especially true for those out there who can’t afford to be spending themselves into debt right now, and really, who doesn’t that apply to? Avoid the consumer guilt trap but instead take another step toward financial freedom – a place free of fiscal burdens and interest rates. Where those around you get to enjoy an even better version of you, someone happier and present, less concerned with overdue notices and more focused on creating meaningful experiences.

These holidays, save your money, and instead spend moments with the people you love. Have fun, share a laugh and give someone the gift of your time. It is priceless.

Four smiling women standing in a group with drinks in their hands.