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Financial Health Warning CSH

WARNING: CSH May be Making its Way to Your Home

In a couple of weeks, you may experience headache, nausea, depression, and unexplainable bouts of
anger. The onset of these symptoms usually occur immediately after opening your bank or credit card
statement that covers activity between the day after Thanksgiving through December 24 th .

Do not panic when you experience these symptoms. The symptoms are the result of CSH, Christmas
Spending Hangover. CSH is a seasonal and quite common ailment. In some cases, it goes away during
the months of April or May. However, for those with more serious cases, the symptoms of CSH have
been known to carry over into the next season.

As with most hangovers, you will go through a deep period of regret. You’ll promise yourself that you
will never spend like that again. Sadly, you will likely fall victim to factors that make avoiding CSH
challenging, such as lack of self-control or discipline and peer pressure.

How to Prevent CSH

There are measures you can take to ensure that you will never again experience CSH. To protect
yourself, make a commitment to do the following:

1. Create a line item in your household budget for Christmas shopping and put that amount in a designated savings account. Many banks and credit unions offer a Christmas club account with no fees.  They transfer an amount from your saving or checking account each month to your Christmas club account. It’s a win-win for you and the bank. The bank gets to hang on to your money a little longer
(generating more revenue), and you get the benefit of a designated savings for use during the holiday

2. Pay for gifts using cash only. You are less likely to exceed your budget when using cash.

3. Make a streamlined Christmas list for next year right now while you are experiencing CSH. This activity will help you realize that you are not Santa. You don’t have to buy a gift for everyone who has ever crossed your path.  Rule for gifting: Gift individuals to whom it wouldn’t matter to you if they did not or could not reciprocate. In other words, gift for the sake of being generous and kind—not because you expect a gift in return or because you feel obligated.

4. Assign a dollar amount to spend on each person and stick to that amount. If you want to spend more on someone, you’ll need to decide where you can spend less to compensate, but do not exceed your overall Christmas budget.

5. Shop throughout the year. Now that you’ve already created your shopping list for next year, use that list to shop all year. Sales are not reserved for the Christmas season. As you see items that would be perfect for someone on your list and the price is within budget, buy it. This method of shopping also
decreases holiday shopping stress. While everyone else is running around stressing over what to get Uncle Buck, you have a box in your closet containing gifts for everyone on your list. All that’s left to do is the wrapping. Don’t get caught with your face over the toilet next year. Hangovers are not fun. CSH is serious, but if you follow the five steps above, it is 100% preventable.

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