Avoiding A “Financial Hangover” During The Holidays




Adjust Your Budget & Stick To It

Even if you plan to be frugal, there’s pretty much no way around the fact that the holiday months will cost you more than other months of the year. But you can prepare yourself for the inflated costs during the holidays by planning ahead. Rather than scrambling to buy last-minute gifts or holiday outfit and charging it all to your credit cards, consider planning for the holidays ahead of time. Consider listing out who you need to buy gifts for and set a spending limit. Think about whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or any holiday dinner parties and how much you should budget for food and alcohol. Fancy New Year’s Eve plans? Estimate your costs for that too. Once you’ve estimated these various costs, add them into your budget and make sure you stick to your limits. Consider setting extra money aside each month in the time leading up to the holidays, so that when it comes time to spend, you already have extra cash on hand.


Avoid blowing your gift budget and giving yourself a financial headache by taking time to start shopping sooner rather than later – this will allow you to comparison shop, keep an eye out for sales, and give you the time to find less expensive but meaningful gifts


Put Down The Plastic

Holiday shopping usually means racking up your credit cards – which is where the headache of the January “financial” hangover comes in. However, if you budget and save money ahead of time to use towards holiday gifts and indulgences, you should be able to avoid using credit cards altogether. If you must use credit cards, try to choose one that gives you rewards points or cash back, and make sure you are able to pay more than the minimum each month so you don’t end up paying tons in interest as you pay off the balance.


Be Smart About Gifting

One of the biggest expenses during the holidays are gifts. Common mistakes that lead to overspending are not planning what to buy ahead, leaving shopping to the last minute (which can lead to abandoning your plan in favor of buying whatever’s convenient), and buying something expensive from a big brand name rather than something personal and thoughtful. Avoid blowing your gift budget and giving yourself a financial headache by taking time to start shopping sooner rather than later – this will allow you to comparison shop, keep an eye out for sales, and give you the time to find less expensive but meaningful gifts, rather than just caving in and buying something expensive at the last second. Bonus: you’ll avoid a real headache by getting your shopping out of the way early!


Have a Holiday Trip, Not a Guilt Trip

Don’t let your vacation put you into debt. If planning to travel during the holidays – whether taking a tropical vacation or visiting family – there are measures you can take to avoid over-spending. The holidays are almost always more expensive when it comes to hotel and airfare rates, so your best bet for saving money is to book sooner rather than later. This will allow you time to shop around online for the best prices and keep an eye out for sales. You may also want to consider renting a home or apartment on Airbnb, rather than stay in a hotel. Set a budget for things like activities and dining out and make sure you stick to it.


Say No

Avoid unexpected expenses during the holiday season by knowing your limits and staying within them. If a holiday party or activity comes up that will put you over-budget, you may just have to say no. Know your financial limits, and avoid social activities or purchases that your budget doesn’t allow for; there will still be plenty of fun to be had during the holidays and you’ll thank yourself later!

The holidays are meant to be enjoyable and a time for indulgence – and while you may putting on a few extra pounds or having a few late nights may be unavoidable, a financial hangover is. All it takes to avoid the holiday financial hangover is some awareness and planning ahead.

This will allow you to start January fresh and ready to tackle your financial resolutions, rather than playing catch up with your credit card bills.


Why Whiskey Should No Longer Be Categorized As “A Man’s Drink”

I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"

I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.

In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.

Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.

For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.

Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.

The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.

It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.

While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.

What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.

While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.