Personal Finance

Forget about the deals and enjoy the moment

Week after week we talk about ways to save money. This week I want to talk about spending. Not money, but your time—the best gift you can give anyone.

So Wednesday, and the days following, instead of obsessing over after-holiday deals, try focusing on the things that matter. Spending time on the relationships that matter. Here are some ideas.

Shut it down

. If you have any vacation, personal days or other paid time off in reserve, try to burn a day or two this week or possibly next. I know this isn’t possible for many people, but you never know until you ask. At the very least, put the phone down and enjoy the moment and people around you.

Get out of town

. Ever want to escape your home or someone else’s over the holidays? You know what I mean. Some relatives are more enjoyable than others. Again, not always possible, but try to get away with your kids, spouse, or whoever you covet quality time with and explore a small town that’s an easy drive away.

Make a night of it

. If have young children, you know what a struggle it can be to get any couple time right now. Between now and New Year’s Eve, plan a night out for just the two of you. If you’re like me, you could probably use it.

Take a hike

. This was always a favorite family tradition growing up, whether it was an idyllic snowy stroll through the woods or an unseasonably warm walk in the park. With one person or the whole family, try some great trails at Platte Woods Conservation Area up north, James A. Reed to the east (

http://mdc.mo.gov/regions/kansas-city/james-reed-memorial-wildlife-area

), Shawnee Mission Park out west, or Ernie Miller Park down south. (

http://www.erniemiller.com/

)

Return gifts

. No, I don’t mean the day after Christmas madness. I’m talking about giving back. To me, there’s no better way to appreciate the gifts we receive. Why not donate a few hours to a charitable organization? (

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.metro=28=1=1

) Shelters, food pantries and donation centers are often flooded with volunteers before Christmas, and then they’re gone afterward. You can make a bigger difference now.

Reconnect with someone

. We all have at least one, an old friend you’ve talked about getting together with forever or a relative you haven’t seen in too long. Make it breakfast, lunch, a drink after the kids are down, whatever. Make it happen.

Time doesn’t have to you cost anything. And, when it comes to the people who mean the most to you, it’s one gift that can be better to receive than give.

Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little one, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens
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