The 10-Step Plan to Have a Joyous and Debt-Free Holiday Season

Have your recent holiday seasons felt more like The Nightmare Before Christmas than ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas? For many people, the holidays are a mad rush of spending too much time, too much energy, and too much money. You may feel even more pressure this year due to last year’s socially-distant holidays -- an unfettered need to “make up” for the deprivation you and your loved ones felt in the midst of the pandemic. 

In this blog post, you'll learn how to examine your feelings and beliefs about the season as well as how to understand the impact they have on your behavior. By the end of these 10 steps, you’ll have the tools to build the holiday of your dreams while remaining debt-free, so that you can welcome the new year in financial peace.

Want to explore this topic further? Join me on Thursday, October 29, 2022, at 10:00 AM PDT for an in-depth webinar about holiday planning. Sign up here!

Be sure to download my ...

Continue Reading...

Your Style Evolution

You completed your closet cleanout. You considered your clothing needs and wants as you made your shopping list. You headed to your favorite stores, list in hand, and returned home with bags of items that fit your wardrobe words. Now what?

Fashion Show and Outfit Photos

After your shopping trip, it’s time for a fashion show! I try on all of my outfits for an audience of one: my husband (I know -- I’m lucky). As I sort through my purchases, I determine what I want to keep and what needs to be returned. 

Shopping Tip: In an effort to reduce decision fatigue while shopping, I like to shop at stores that have good return policies. I usually shop two or three times a year, and it’s hard to decide about everything on the spot. For instance, if I spend more than I planned on spending, I can sort it out at home and make some returns.  

Before I put my new pieces on my black velvet hangers, I put outfit options together and take photos of them. Although...

Continue Reading...

Identifying Your Clothing Needs and Wants

Last week, we covered the beginning steps of your wardrobe refresh, including a thorough closet cleanout and the creation of your shopping list. Now, before you head to your favorite stores, we’ve got a bit more prep work to do! It’s time to divide your list into subcategories and identify your clothing needs and wants. 

Shopping List Subcategories

To start, take a look at your shopping list and sort your items into subcategories. Possible groups include:

  • Casual Clothes
  • Workout Clothes
  • Business Clothes
  • Lingerie
  • Pajamas + Nightgowns
  • Fancy Clothes
  • Date Night Outfits
  • Shoes + Boots
  • Handbags
  • Other Accessories

For MoneyGrit. users: I recommend that you personalize the subcategories under your main Clothing category. Name them based on items that resonate with you. Remember my gray fuzzy coat story? For many years, one of my subcategories was Warm Things. Additionally, there is a worksheet within MoneyGrit. titled Needs and Wants List.

Once your list is split into...

Continue Reading...

How to Refresh Your Wardrobe

Over the past two weeks, we’ve done a deep dive into the importance of clothes and the deprivation that exists for many people. I’ve also shared my own story of clothing deprivation with you. Now, in the next post for my five-part series, I want to give you actionable steps to take to refresh your wardrobe.

Why Your Clothes Matter

Your clothes tell a story and can have a recognizable impact on your mood and emotions. Have you ever put on a new dress and instantly felt confident and beautiful? Or thrown on a t-shirt and pair of sweatpants and suddenly shifted from energized to exhausted? 

Your clothes also influence how others see you. The idea of fashion psychology supports the belief that your wardrobe can “influence everything from the outcome of a sports match (Hill and Barton, 2005) to an interviewer’s impression of your ability to perform effectively in a job position (Forsythe, 2006)” (source). Your clothing choices can distinguish you in a...

Continue Reading...

My Story of Clothing Deprivation

Last week, we focused on the idea that many people struggle with clothing deprivation. We explored the possible causes as well as the impact it can have on your quality of life. This week, I want to share my own clothing story with you. Please note that parts of my experience may be triggering if you’d had your own encounters with abandonment and poverty.

My Childhood Experience With Clothing Deprivation

I had a Dickensian childhood. As a young girl, I was passed from relative to relative without any sense of structure or routine. I was also sick for years: I had polio during the polio epidemic and then kidney disease that resulted in the removal of one kidney and two surgeries on the other. It was during my extended hospital stay for polio that I first met my mother. 

When I left the hospital, I went to live with my father and stepmother in the projects in Sacramento. This time was the worst of my life. We were poor, and my stepmother was evil. The neglect and...

Continue Reading...

The Impact of Clothing Deprivation

I have nothing to wear.

We’ve all been there, right? Surrounded by piles of tried-on-and-tossed-away outfits, we are no closer to walking out the door than we were 30 minutes ago. Plus, getting dressed — a necessary part of each day — has somehow morphed into an activity that negatively impacts our self-worth.  

Clothing deprivation is problematic for many people. Let’s first look at the three main causes:

  • Doing Without: Here, your wardrobe is not a priority and thus you are living without the basics.
  • Making Do: In this instance, as illustrated above, you attempt to fill your closet with pieces that fit your lifestyle and make you feel good, but, in one way or another, you miss the mark.
  • Overdoing: Here, you spend a lot of money to build your wardrobe, but you fail to focus on what you truly need. This approach can result in an overfilled closet and a pile of credit card debt

The Payoff for Clothing Deprivation 

Whether you have little...

Continue Reading...

Dollars for Donuts. Discovering Your Money-Food Connection


When I started Financial Recovery in 1988, I knew my focus would be in creating a holistic approach to overcoming self-defeating money behaviors. Using my MoneyGrit. spending plan, I encouraged clients to keep track EVERYTHING so they could get grounded in their numbers and begin to make meaningful change.

One of the categories we tracked, of course, was food—and for many of us, it’s a category that’s loaded with complicated emotions.

You get out what you put into a Spending Plan, so I encourage clients to track in great detail in this area—down to dividing spending out by sub-category, like groceries, breakfast out, lunch out, dinner out, fast food, takeout, coffee/tea/snacks, etc.

Clients inevitably looked shocked when I would ask them to track their money in such great detail, but I knew if I stuck with it, they’d gain insights that would move them forward on their journey.

My favorite food-money connection came from a woman who I was working...

Continue Reading...

Do You Have Money Grit?

In a therapy session several years ago, I was talking about my childhood. I described the instability of my early years as I was passed from one temporary home to another. I recalled the lack of warmth and comfort I felt, which I didn’t even realize I’d been missing until later. By the time I was 6, a kidney disease diagnosis left my living in a hospital for months at a time. I had few visitors and ached with loneliness, enduring several surgeries and the removal of one kidney. Once I was finally out of the woods with my kidney disease, I was diagnosed with polio. 

My therapist sat silently for a moment after I recalled my story. Then he said something that’s stuck with me for years: “I knew you had grit.” 

Hearing him put my resilience into words made me feel appreciated, and seen. It felt like a true reflection of my journey. 

Years later, I discovered Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. In an...

Continue Reading...

3 Ways to Heal Loneliness & Deprivation in Relationships


When you think of love, do you think of couples holding hands, romantic songs, or candlelit dinners? I bet you don't think of money problems, stress, and anxiety!

When people are knee-deep in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, or not feeling in control of their finances, they experience shame, fear, anxiety, guilt...But one of the feelings we often forget about is loneliness.

I remember when I came to this realization—it was a Saturday morning in San Francisco many years ago. I was sitting at a sidewalk cafe alone, drinking my latte and reading the SF Chronicle. I was watching couples and groups of people together talking, laughing, and really enjoying themselves.

I really felt my sense of longing deeply then, and I knew that it was time to address this NEED now. By this time, I was focusing on my financial issues, but without even realizing it, I had cut myself off from everyone in the process.

I knew it was time for me to do something about this—I had contact...

Continue Reading...

50% Complete


Sign Up Here For Email Updates

We send out regular, helpful content via our newsletter and blog posts. Be the first to know when we publish something new by signing up below.