CalSouthern’s Dr. Jonathan Rich Offers Holiday Spending Advice

Dec 11, 2011 by University Communications

Faculty Mentor Appears on Fox LA Morning News

Dr. Jonathan RichTwo of CalSouthern faculty mentor Dr. Jonathan Rich’s areas of specialty are romantic love and financial psychology. He’s also the author of The Couple’s Guide to Love and Money, a highly acclaimed book designed to help couples better communicate and resolve conflict over financial issues. So, it should come as no surprise that Dr. Rich is frequently sought out by media outlets to offer tips on dealing with thorny financial and relationship issues.

Earlier this month, Dr. Rich appeared on the FOX Los Angeles morning news show to offer tips for managing holiday finances—as well as the associated stress. Here’s some of his helpful advice:

Set a Budget – Make sure that your holiday budget is taken from your discretionary income and remember that holiday spending is just a part of your larger financial plan for that time-frame.

Keep Track of Expenses – The method isn’t important; use whatever works for you. It doesn’t matter whether you utilize specialized computer software or place discretionary holiday income in an envelope, just be aware of how much you’re spending.

Deprivation Doesn’t Work – Sure, frugality is nice, but paring your holiday spending down to next to nothing might backfire. Instead, allow yourself a few indulgences to avoid tension…or a spending binge.

Set Your Priorities – It’s difficult—and pure drudgery—to set a budget if you don’t first clearly define your priorities and set financial goals. Make sure to focus on both the short-term (buying a new iPad or taking a family vacation) and the long-term (saving for a down payment on a home or planning for retirement).

Spend With a Purpose - Don’t just budget for its own sake—that’s a recipe for a financial relapse. Instead, thoughtfully consider what matters most to you. Is it a hobby or interest that gives you great satisfaction? Is it a charitable cause? Is it building family memories? With priorities in mind, you’ll be better able to set your budget—and stick to it.

Remember the Reason for the Season – Taking a moment to reflect upon the true spirit of the holiday season can take the sting out of adhering to your budget, or defuse what could develop into a heated argument about holiday spending.

“Remember that the holidays are a time to let go of resentments, appreciate the people in your life, and reach out to people who are less fortunate,” says Dr. Rich. “It is a time to appreciate spirituality, eternity, and to regain a sense of perspective.”

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