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Surviving the Season

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Guest blogger Leanne Salyzyn is an insolvency counselor, licensed restructuring professional and trustee in bankruptcy. Post a comment or contact her on Twitter with your personal-finance questions.

I recently signed up for a yoga program in an attempt to calm my thoughts and strengthen the inner me. The class has been teaching me to slow down, breathe and enjoy the moment. It’s not unlike Christmas shopping. People jockey for parking spots and checkout lines get longer and longer as we all get less and less patient with the consumer traffic. It got me thinking perhaps I could apply some of what I have learned in yoga class to the commercialism of Christmas.

Below is my creation: a Christmas Shopping Yoga Program. Easy to follow and no mat required.

  • Be Patient

There are several weeks left before Christmas. There is plenty of time to get all shopping accomplished. Rarely do merchants run out of merchandise. Sales/discounts will still happen long after the blessed event. Take your time and make wise shopping decisions. Slow down.

  • Stay Calm

If you find yourself in a cash crunch, inhale deeply. Take stock. Perhaps you need to reconsider your gift list and adjust. If you need to take advantage of credit, have a plan to pay it off when the credit card statement comes in January. Create money. Your junk can be a treasure to others. Consider selling and using the money for something more meaningful.

  • Use Control

Avoid the impulse buy. Ask yourself “did I plan to buy this”? If the answer was no, leave it. Just because it was “on sale” doesn’t mean it was free. Practice saying no. No matter how much self-control one has, it is very difficult to stop shopping even after all gifts are bought. The pressure of sales ads, people in stores and the increased hustle and bustle makes us believe we are missing out on something if we are not a part of it. But here’s the funny truth: the only thing you will be missing are the debts in January.

  • Know your Limit

Like a yoga pose, sometimes we can only stretch our budget so far. Everyone has limits on how far they can go. Know your spending limit and stick to it. You are not the person next to you. Compete with yourself and no one else.

  • Relax

My favorite part of my yoga class is the final relaxation period where all stresses seem to vanish. When all shopping is complete, review your spending and praise yourself if you’ve done a good job. You can now relax. If you were disappointed, breathe and relax. There is always next year.

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