Major Life Challenges Blog Series

We are taking a closer look at some of the big issues we all can face in our lifetime. Each topic will be featured as a blog series.

Giving Thanks for Unexpected Gifts

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Thanksgiving is almost here; one of my favorites and not just because I have an excuse to stuff myself silly with turkey and stuffing, but rather the time spent with family and friends and being thankful for life's gifts.

Giving Thanks for Unexpected GiftsSometimes we all loose sight of the gifts we are given and need a gentle reminder to be thankful, Thanksgiving is an excellent reminder.

My family likes to share what we are thankful for all around the table (even the little ones) before the big meal. As I started thinking about the holiday this year I wondered what I would share. It's been a tough year, but I realized there were many things I was thankful for and counting my blessing this year would be no harder than in year's prior.

Can We See the Big Picture?

Our lives, just like the national economy, goes through times of ebb and flow. If you talk to an older couple, they will tell you about various seasons in their financial life and how they may have failed in a business, lost employment, became ill, or lost a home.

This was a difficult year for many as our troubled economy has caused a lot of life and financially changing issues. If you have been affected by the economy you may be feeling a little less than thankful this year.

Know that the older couple I am referencing has seen times like this and somehow through perseverance and hard work they have gotten through.

Take Thanksgiving as an opportunity to asses your life and see where you can make positive changes to turn things around.

Can We Give Thanks?

Being thankful is not always easy when times are tough but take a few moments to think about what you have.

  • Maybe you are thankful to still have your home despite the up tick in foreclosures...
  • Downsizing and job loss are still high; if you have a job even if it's not the one you want perhaps you can be thankful for this gift...
  • Many have lost their life savings due to market conditions; if you still have a small nest egg, be thankful for not having to start all over...
  • Are you still able to pay your essential bills? While this may not sound like much there are many across the United States that can't...

Struggling financially can make the upcoming holidays difficult, but taking the time to give thanks for what you still have and realizing there are things you can do to improve your situation may just help you realize you do have something to share when it's your turn at the dinner table.

Positive Changes

We can always make changes in our lives but, taking that first step is hard to do. Start small if change is overwhelming for you.

  • Budget tweaks. If your income has been reduced and your budget is tight make changes in small increments. If you overhaul your entire lifestyle in one fell swoop you may be more likely to fall off the budget wagon more quickly than if you make small changes over time.
  • Use your resources. Job loss is always tough as it affects you emotionally and financially. Realizing this you can make changes to your situation to help boost your mood and your finances. Try turning a hobby in to a cash cow, you will be doing something you enjoy and making some money to help pay the bills. Enlist your entire network in your job search, not only will you re-connect with old friends but you will increase your chances of landing a job exponentially.
  • Start your journey. Financial upheaval from life events can cause debt to spiral out of control. If you are in debt, takes steps today to get out. Start doing your research, asses your budget, and determine how much debt you have. Once you know the answers to your questions, and where you stand you can determine how to begin your journey. See how others have begun their journey out of debt for helpful tips to help you get started.

Know that you are not alone, many are struggling this holiday season and many have struggled in the past. Find support in sharing with others both your situation, and what you are thankful for. 

Suzanne Cramer

Suzanne is a certified credit counselor and a Social Media Specialist for CareOne Debt Relief Services. Suzanne writes for Divorce, Debt and Finances and Major Life Challenges. Follow Suzanne on Twitter @ADivorcedMom where she shares her insights as a single-divorced mom with tips and tricks to keep your finances in check. 

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  • Suzanne, that's a great article.  In my ebooks and courses I talk about being grateful for the small stuff.  I'd like to share this if you don't mind.  Regards  Deborah

  • @Deborah Meredith I am glad you enjoyed the article--absolutely feel free to share!

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