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3 Steps to Avoid Emotionally Overspending this Holiday Seasons

Ah, the holidays.

A time filled with family gatherings, Friendsgiving, and any (and all) excuses to finally get together again!!! A time for cheer, laughter, and community. 

It’s also the season of giving:

Giving of your energy.

…. of your time

…. and of your money.

Giving can be rewarding, but without proper emotional boundaries, it can also be draining.

This time of year can cause a lot of fear and high anxiety around holiday expenses for many people.

As a financial coach, I’ve been having a lot of conversations around:

  • How to prepare for all holiday costs.
  • Ways to recognize our spending triggers during the holiday season.
  • Strategies for making this year different (by NOT overspending) 

Emotional Holiday Spending

Businesses capitalize on your emotions. They spend weeks (or even months) writing marketing plans to capitalize on your emotions to make you spend, spend, spend. 

These emotional triggers might make you feel:

  • Fear (of missing out)
  • Urgency (that you will miss a sale/ deal)
  • Doubt (that you are good enough without their product)
  • Shame (that you don’t have what they sell)
  • Excitement (about this amazing new thing!)

Have you ever felt these emotions before when you were scrolling IG, watching a commercial or cruising through the aisles of Target?

Mmhmm. We all have. 


So…. how do you stop these emotional triggers from happening?

1) Identify Your Emotional Triggers

Stop – Do a purchase pause. Some questions to ask yourself: 

    • “Why am I buying this?”
    • “Was this what I came for?”
    • “Is this planned or an impulse buy?”


2) Step Back and Own Your Feelings

Beyond growing emotions, you might also experience some physical anxiety symptoms, like pounding heart or upset stomach. Recognize it.


Remind yourself that it’s totally OK to feel whatever you’re feeling in that moment. Sad, excited, guilt — triggers can evoke plenty of emotions, and that’s normal. 

Triggers can evoke feelings:

  • sad
  • guilty
  • excited
  • jealous

3) Test Out Different Coping Techniques

Different things works for different people. Here are a few ideas to try out. See what works for you:

  • Always shop with a list. Stick to the list! Write a message to yourself on WHY it’s important to you to stick to the list. For example – I’m tired of wondering where all my money is going. 


  • Gamify spending by making a rule not to purchase something unless you wait for 48-hours. This is a rule I have put in place and followed for the past 8 years. 


  • Ask yourself, “what am I giving up by purchasing this?”


  • Ask yourself, “how many hours did I work to buy this? Is it worth it?”


  • Unsubscribe from emails and unfollow IG influencers that make you like your missing out on a particular product.
  • and my personal favorite: Write a short message to yourself on a sticky note and tape it to your credit card.

Your future self, come January, will thank you for following these steps. 



  1. CLAIM IT: This is your year to be in control of your holiday spending. 
  2. PLAN IT: I’ve put together a killer Holiday Budget Planner for you…for free! I take you beyond gift-giving expenses🍷🎄🎁💌👗
  3. TALK ABOUT IT: Let’s dig in and talk about what most don’t;  the emotional link behind holiday spending. 

Simply being aware of emotional spending is a HUGE first step, so congratulations! Keep staying aware over the next few weeks and see what difference it makes in your spending. 

One more thing: Emotional spending can be difficult to overcome any time of year, but it is definitely heightened during the holidays, so if you trip up, don’t beat yourself up. 

Having someone to talk to about potential emotional / financial triggers is massively helpful, so reach out to me if this is something you want support around this year. This year, I would love to be your “Elf on the Wallet Shelf” to help you navigate the holidays (financially) stress free. 


With all the holiday cheer, 

Coach MicKallyn 

Meet MicKallyn

mickallyn ellis in her office


Hi, I’m Mickallyn, a Mortgage Lender/Banker turned Financial Coach.  When student loans put me in debt, I knew I didn’t want to live the rest of my life paying them off, so I figured out how to pay them all off in just a year. Now I have zero debt, 3 homes, 4 college degrees and am raising two little boys. I’ve traveled to over 22 countries and live a debt free life. I’m committed to helping others do the same through 1 on 1 coaching and personalized plans that actually work.

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