Three Ways to Beat the Scrooge Spirit

Growing healthy, wealthy, and wise during the holidays

Every year, around this time, you hear the standard carol, "Joy to the World." But for many people, the holidays aren't that joyful. In fact, they're downright stressful. Why? Because a lot of money goes out the door during the holidays, and often it's money you don't have.

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF), the average per person spending for the season is now over $800 "on food items, decorations, gifts and more over the holiday season." Considering wage growth has been well below healthy standards and barely keeping up with inflation, if at all, over the last five years-and that one-third of Americans don't have any retirement savings-there's plenty to be stressed out about.

Yet, in popular culture, it's the rich who are often depicted as miserly and grumpy come Christmas time. One of our most treasured Christmas stories, A Christmas Carol, is the poster child for such a sentiment.

No one would argue that Scrooge is an admirable character. In fact, he's simply nasty. But the reality is that anyone can be a Scrooge, whether rich or poor. Scrooge is simply a mindset.

At rich dad, we believe the greatest gift you can give is the gift of a healthy self. When you are healthy, wealthy, and wise, you are able to be present with those who you love-and that is the greatest present of all.

If your inner Scrooge is coming out during the holidays this year, don't fret. You're not alone-and there's something you can do about it, starting today.

Eat less and work out more

The holidays are a time when most people blow their diets, and in grand style. When we do this, not only do we not feel great, but we also let the guilt of making such decisions make us grumpier and grumpier. Our subconscious knows when we're making bad decisions, and unless we own them, we'll usually start blaming others, often in inexplicable ways.

It doesn't have to be that way. Rather than pack on the holiday 15 this year, make it a point to eat sparingly. Think of every calorie saved as an investment in your health for the year to come. Can you enjoy yourself? Certainly. But you don't have to do it to the extreme.

But eating right isn't enough. Make sure to take some time during the busy holiday season to exercise. Whether going for walks after dinner, hitting the gym hard in the morning, or riding your bike to work, there are ample opportunities throughout the day to get some exercise in. You'll feel better, and you'll find that joy returning even when things get stressful.

Give yourself the gift of financial education

Most people have some downtime during the holidays. You could fill it with an extra helping of pie, too much wine, and hours on the couch watching football-or you could spend it improving your financial IQ.

Go to the library and get books on finance, accounting, and investing. Find some great podcasts (like the Rich Dad Radio Show) and listen to them as you cook holiday meals. Subscribe to helpful newsletters likeRich Dad Advisor Andy Tanner's. Or even play CASHFLOW online for free with friends and family.

And with your newly-gained knowledge, start making a plan on how to put it to use in the New Year. Set a goal to see how much you can learn and make between now and next holiday season.

Give back to others

We've found that when we're overly focused on ourselves, we become the worst people to be around. One of the best ways to beat the Scrooge spirit is to do what Scrooge himself did-give your time, talent, and money.

Take some time to serve those less fortunate than you this holiday season. You can go through your belongings and give away things you no longer use. You can serve at a local food bank or shelter. Or you can give to a favorite charity. The options are nearly limitless on how to give back.

As you work on becoming a better version of yourself, you'll find that you're a better person to those around you. Put these three things into action, and you'll discover that there can be no better time than holiday time.

Happy Holidays from all of us at Rich Dad!

Robert and Kim

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