5 Money Tips to Survive and Thrive this Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but it can be easy to get into a jam if you’re not careful. I’m not talking about the cranberry jam. I’m talking about a financial jam.

Without a plan or considering your future, it’s easy to go into the Christmas season and overdo it. If you’re only focused on the Christmas season, what you do with your money can have a long-lasting negative impact on your financial future.

I don’t mean to dampen your Christmas spirit or ruin your fun. Quite the opposite. I want to help you create a great Christmas experience for you and your family while keeping you on track for a wonderful future where your money is concerned. I want to help you make millionaire choices!

Make a List. Check it Twice.

Don’t go into Christmas without a plan. Make a list. Check it twice. Leave off the people that are naughty, not nice.

To be successful with money, you need a plan. Christmas is the same. The better the plan, the smoother things will go. It’s Christmas 101, just like the song says, “He’s making a list. Checking it twice. Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.” Santa needs a list, and so do you!

I keep my list in a place where my wife can access it. I use Wunderlist. We start with names, obviously, and then move to how much we plan to spend. We total up the cost and then cut the list in half to save money! Just kidding. I’m not that tight! However, we do review and adjust the budget once we have all the names and “spending targets” for each person and gift.

Don’t Overspend.

If your love language is gifts like mine is, it is really really really easy to overspend at Christmas, especially on your kids and family! Even with a solid list and budget, you will stumble on that one thing that your kids will just love! Even if you don’t spoil your kids during the year (I don’t), Christmas kinda gives you an excuse to spoil them! Warning: Overspending is hazardous to your future!

My mom and dad grew up with very little. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized how much they lavished gifts on us at Christmas. They wanted us to have and enjoy things they were not able to have as kids. I was definitely spoiled at Christmas time and loved it!

However, knowing what I do about money now, I realize that my parents were destroying their financial future, and sadly, I don’t have any of the items they bought for me as a child. The toys were broken or lost. The clothes are worn out and too small. The newfangled camera became old technology. The telescope only lasted a few years. We definitely had some great times with the race track, building legos, and playing with all the Star Wars figures!

Don’t feel like you have to overspend to make Christmas special. Christmas should be special, even without gifts!

Don’t Finance Your Christmas.

As if overspending wasn’t bad enough, financing Christmas is even worse! If you’ve had a rough year and are short on money, don’t resort to credit cards to fix it. You’ll only be creating another big problem.

Financing Christmas means you’ll probably be paying 6% to 30%. Some credit cards even to up to 36% interest! Never mind that interest rates this high should be outlawed: financing your shopping is a Christmas recipe for financial disaster!

Don’t feel guilty or bad about not having money to spend on gifts at Christmas. There are plenty of other ways to make Christmas special!

Be Future Minded.

When you’re doing your shopping this season, consider the money you are spending. Don’t just look at what you are spending today. Think about what it means in the future. What do I mean by this? Let’s see.

Let’s say you want to buy a TV. That new 4k 60″ screen would look really good playing Die Hard! (Note: some men believe Die Hard is the greatest Christmas movie of all time) That’ll set you back $1,000 in today’s dollars.

However, let’s look at what that costs in future dollars. There’s an easy way to figure this out. Future dollars are what that money would be worth if you invested it in your retirement or as I like to say sometimes your 59 1/2 fund. (Note: 59 1/2 is the year your can retire and start drawing retirement funds without early withdrawal penalties.) Take that $1,000 and double it every 7 years until you reach 59 1/2. What’s it worth? I’m 49 so that $1,000 is worth about $3,000 for me at 59 1/2. That’s a $3,000 TV!

You could even move this date out to 70 if you need a little while to get ready for your future. I have 21 years until I reach 70. That $1,000 is $8,000 for me at 70. Wait! What?! I just bought an $8,000 TV? That’s crazy!

When you’re shopping this Christmas, consider your future!

Make Memories.

Make memories. They last longer than gifts. One of the best things you can do for Christmas is to go lite on the gifts and heavy on the memories. Spend time figuring out how to make Christmas time special. Here are some ideas.

  • Bake something. My mother-in-law spent every Christmas baking cherry-filled candy-cane shaped pastry. It’s a tradition that my wife keeps today, and my kids love it!
  • Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Play Christmas music in the car while you do it. Tell family stories. Grab some hot chocolate while you’re out. With social media, it’s super easy to find the best places to see awesome Christmas lights!
  • Hang some lights. Honestly, I don’t like hanging Christmas lights, but my kids love it! It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it to see their smiles.
  • Watch Christmas movies! I grew up watching stop motion movies of Santa and Rudolf. Burl Ives voice still rings in my ears! Pick out your favorites and spend a little time watching Christmas movies with the family each week leading up to Christmas. Have the family vote on the best one and save that one till last.
  • Serve in the community. Many people enjoy serving in the community at Christmas for those who are less fortunate. You can’t go wrong doing this. Giving and caring are truly some of the greatest Christmas memories you will make. They will become treasures when you look back over your life.

Use Christmas to Create a Life Experience. You won’t regret it!

Time. The Best Gift.

We spend so much of our lives working and rushing around life. Make more money. Buy more things. Move our lives forward. So often we neglect the most important thing. Relationships.

You may not realize it, but your time is your most valuable asset. Your time is limited. Everyone has the same amount of time each day, each year, and you never know when the time will run out.

My mom had been after me for years to spend more time with her and my dad. I heard her, but I kept on with my busy lifestyle. Heck, I have 6 kids! I’m an executive at a big company! I’m a busy guy! It’s not like I didn’t see my mom or talk to her. I called her fairly often to chat. We saw them at birthday parties for our kids 6 times a year, soccer games, and at other times as well. But mom kept after me. “We don’t spend any time together. We don’t get to see you,” she said. I disagreed, but whatever.

During Christmas 2015, I decided to make a change.

Our family always likes to do creative things at Christmas. Sometimes we had Christmas scavenger hunts to find your presents. At other times, you might get a brick in your package to hinder your ability to guess what’s inside. In 2015, I decided to grant my mother’s wish for more time.

I created some rather well-produced paperwork committing to spend more time with my mom and dad. I committed to a monthly family night where we would cook, eat, play games, watch movies, and whatever else we could dream up. I even committed to taking some trips. We had taken family trips together in the past, but it was more spontaneous and not a regular thing.

We vacationed during the summer of 2016 in Florida. It was a great time! The kids loved it, and my wife enjoyed it. But most of all, my mother got her wish.

In August 2016, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. Things progressed quickly. After viewing the images, I knew she wouldn’t make it to Christmas. She passed away in November 2016.

Forget the money. Forget the presents. If you want to give the greatest gift you have this Christmas, give away some of your time.

Eventual Millionaire Podcast with Jaime Masters

I absolutely loved being on the Eventual Millionaire Podcast with Jaime Masters discussing how to make millionaire choices. You’ll find it very difficult to find anyone with more passion for helping people succeed than Jaime.

As a business coach, author, and professional speaker, Jaime has hosted one-on-one interviews with over 350 millionaires and billionaires.

She made her exit from the corporate world after finding herself $70,000 in debt and realizing that she hated her job. With an ambitious goal and a strategic plan, she was out of the debt and the job she hated in just 16 months. Now, Jaime helps others find the freedom, money, and work they love.

“I like to help people put money back in its place. Where people control money and money doesn’t control people.” – Jaime Masters

Highlights from Making Millionaire Choices on the Eventual Millionaire Podcast with Jaime Masters

  • Breaking the family cycle of financial mismanagement
  • Retirement vs. freedom to live your life
  • How to instill ambition and financial responsibility in your children
  • Learn whether you are emotionally or logically driven towards your money
  • The fast way to get out of debt
  • The 4 Categories of Money

Eventual Millionaire: Making Millionaire Choices (Website)

Eventual Millionaire: Making Millionaire Choices (iTunes)

Quotes from the show:

“Learn how to sell. You can’t neglect the sales. Focus on sales and become a better salesman.” – Tony Bradshaw

How to Lose Money Podcast with Paul Moore and Josh Thomas

I had an amazing time talking about life and money with Paul Moore on the How to Lose Money Podcast.

How to Lose Money is a wealth-building podcast dedicated to the honest, sometimes gut-wrenching stories of business and life lessons learned. If you’re an entrepreneur going through a tough season, a business executive wanting to avoid strategic mistakes, or just someone who loves to hear about victories earned on the other side of painful trials, this podcast is for you.

With new episodes every Monday, Paul and Josh feature and interview business leaders who have made mistakes that you don’t need to repeat. They discuss topics like: risk-taking, financial principles, entrepreneurship, growing your business, real estate investing, best business concepts, leadership, books and resources, relationship hacks, networking, passive income, time management, and more!

How to Lose Money by Making Bad Life and Financial Choices (Website)

How to Lose Money by Making Bad Life and Financial Choices (iTunes)

Quotes from the show:

“Have a vision of hope for your own life.” – Tony B

“You will create what you imagine and think about.” – Tony B

Doing Your Best No Matter the Circumstances or Situation You’re in.

Whew! July and August have been rough, but now I’m on the mend. In July and August, I spent 25 days in the hospital. For what you might ask? My right kidney decided it was time to come out. Oh yes. It happens. We’d known my kidney was bad since 2007, but it wasn’t supposed to be an issue. Well, it became an issue. What was supposed to be 4 days in the hospital turned into 14 due to complications. The other 11 days were pre-surgery diagnosis and oh, my doctor had a family reunion out of state during my stay.

During what was a miserable time, I did my best to make lemonade out of lemons. It’s not fun spending 95% of your day in a hospital bed for 14 days after surgery, but I and my lovely wife made the best of it.

A week or so before my kidney issue popped up, I had loaded 4 cases of my book, The Millionaire Choice, into my jeep for an event. Most of the books were reloaded into my jeep after the event. Turns out they came in handy.

Stuck in a hospital room and laying on my back, I wanted to at least be a little productive. Setting up a couple of book stands in the windowsill, we began giving away copies of The Millionaire Choice. In all, we gave way 100+ books to nurses, doctors and other hospital staff. I had an amazing time having discussions with everyone about their money and their future.

We discussed everything from student loans, buying houses, building rental AirBNB property add-ons to groups playing the lottery. It was amazing to see so many people get excited to learn about money. Something no one had taken time to teach them.

During my ordeal, I found inspiration and encouragement as the words of Art Williams, founder of A.L. Williams, kept coming to mind. “All you can do is all you can do, but all you can do is enough.”

Well, I’ve been home for two weeks now and just drove for the first time today. It’s time to get back to work helping people figure out their money, their future, and creating millionaire plans.

Success IQ Podcast with Geoff Nicholson

Geoff Nicholson hosts the Success IQ Podcast based in the UK. Thanks to Geoff for being a fantastic host who is passionate about helping people triumph over they struggles and find new success in life. It’s always fun and energizing to discuss how to help people get their money on track, becoming a millionaire, and how that can help them live an even more fulfilled and successful life.

“We all have these moments in our lives, when we face a fork in the road. A time when your back is against the wall and something has to change.

The courageous learn from such challenges and their mistakes and become stronger, more determined, and willing to make the changes.

I am very fortunate to have found my purpose and passion in life. My role is to assist people like you to challenge and support you in creating a vision of what you want to achieve. To set the goals needed to achieve those targets and to support you in creating and living the life you truly desire.” – Geoff Nicholson

Success IQ Podcast – The Millionaire Choice (iTunes)

Success IQ – The Millionaire Choice (Geoff Nicholson)

Positive Impact Podcast with Joe Horton

I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Positive Impact Podcast with Joe Horton discussing the choices that we make in our lives. Life is a journey. For most of us, it’s a crazy and challenging journey. Where we end up on that journey is based on our choices.

Joe is a fantastic host with a passion for helping others improve their lives. I love the simplicity of Joe’s message.

“3 things which are essential to making a positive impact:

  • Improve your positive impact by improving yourself
  • Improve the lives of your immediate family and friends
  • Improve the lives of everyone you come into contact with in the wider world

…………………..then repeat. It really is as simple as that.” – Joe Horton

Positive Impact Podcast – The Millionaire Choice (iTunes)

Positive Impact Podcast – The Millionaire Choice (Positive Impact Movement)

My First TV Appearance: Bridges on CTN with Monica Schmelter

Okay. I admit it. I know I need to create video to get my business humming, but I’ve been reluctant. Maybe it’s “the first” blockade. Where the first time you do something, it’s the hardest time you do it, so it’s takes longer. I guess I inadvertently or maybe it was intentionally crossed the threshold. No going back. Full steam ahead. More TV and video to come.

Super excited about my first TV appearance talking about my book, The Millionaire Choice: Millionaire or Not. You can Choose.

Monica Schmelter, Bridges

Monica Schmelter is a fantastic host and allowed me to share my thoughts on money and building wealth for yourself, your family and helping others in need. Anything is possible when you make the right choices. Even becoming a millionaire.

With 78% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck, now more than ever, we need deliver good financial principles to the people that need them. By teaching them how to manage money and how to build wealth, they will be able to build better lives for themselves, their families and to be able to help people in need.

Aired on Tuesday, July 2nd, at 9:30 am & 8:30 pm CST. WHTN can be viewed in Middle Tennessee via Charter on Channel 10, Comcast on Channels 21 and 1039, Dish on Channel 39, and local antenna on Channel 39.

Watch it on YouTube

Life Transformation Radio with host Sean Douglas

I had a great time on Life Transformation Radio with Sean Douglas talking about making Millionaire Choices (See Podcast Links Below). Sean is one of the most high energy hosts I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Once you get to know Sean, it’s easy to see why. Sean Douglas is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, TEDx Speaker, Master Resilience Implementer, Suicide Awareness Trainer, Business Positioning Strategist, International Radio Show Host of Life Transformation Radio, and Author.

Sean helps people learn how to withstand, recover, and grow through adversity, stress, and life’s changing demands. His guests reveal their WHY, and highlight that transformational moment that changed their lives. Sean then dives into how his guests are using their “Why” and “transformational moment” to help transform others and elevate their lives as well. Life Transformation Radio empowers listeners the listeners with the tools necessary to take MASSIVE action, and inspire them to live EPIC lives.

Life Transformation Radio – The Millionaire Choice (BlogTalk Radio)

Life Transformation Radio – The Millionaire Choice (iTunes)

Paychecks and Balances Podcast with Rich Jones and Marcus Garrett

This week I had the pleasure of being on Paychecks and Balances Podcast with Rich Jones and Marcus Garrett, a couple of high energy financial guys teaching people what to do with their money to build wealth.

Rich and Marcus were fantastic hosts who somehow pulled out a few of my most embarrassing financial moments on air.

Rich and Marcus are doing amazing work, but they’re also amazing people. These guys weren’t silver spooned. They’ve worked hard to get where they are. I really enjoyed the conversation as well as engaging and discussing some of the cultural differences that affect personal finance challenges for different people groups. As some of the only African American men working in the financial education and media space, Rich and Marcus getting it done!

The Millionaire Choice, Episode 129 (Direct Link)

The Millionaire Choice, Episode 129 (iTunes)

The Money Savage Podcast with George Grombacher

The Money Savage Podcast with George Grombacher

It’s always fun discussing Millionaire Choices with people who are trying to share knowledge. This week, I spoke with George Grombacher on his Money Savage Podcast about the The Millionaire Choice and the10 Keys of the Millionaire.

On Money Savage, George and I disuss simple budgeting…oops…”spending plan” methods to help people focus more on building wealth and less on just paying the bills. We also touch on other topics like breaking free from our family’s bad financial habits and some of the other 10 Keys of the Millionaire from my book, The Millionaire Choice: Millionaire or Not. You Can Choose.

George is a highly motivated individual and a great host. In addition to his Money Savage Podcast, he co-hosts the Figure It Out Podcast with Sentari Minor.

Your Millionaire Plan with Tony Bradshaw (Podbean)

Your Millionaire Plan with Tony Bradshaw (iTunes)