3 Ways to Defuse Heated Money Conversations This Holiday Season

3 Minute Read

There you are, enjoying a plate of pita chips and salmon dip at your neighbor’s annual party, when someone mentions Dave Ramsey. Suddenly, you’re on trial. And you get an earful of questions and comments like:

Oh, you’re a Dave fan? I agree with everything he says except . . .

Be honest: How many credit cards do you really have?

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No one can afford to pay for Christmas with cash. It’s too expensive!

After a few rounds of this, you start searching for the nearest exit. While it may not be fun to take the high road, it’s your best option.  Here are some easy tips for defusing a heated money conversation this holiday season:

1. Share Your Story.

No one can dispute your own story. Instead of talking about their choices, turn the conversation into how much debt you’ve paid off and how much freedom you’ve experienced with a budget. If someone tells you that you can’t pay for Christmas gifts with cash, just say, “Actually, I just did. I’ve been saving all year, and it really wasn’t that bad.” That’s what we like to call a mic drop.

2. Don’t expect to change their mind.

You could get through to this person, but chances are they just want to prove you wrong—and prove themselves right. If they’re trying to justify their car loans and second mortgages, don’t start preaching at them. If you do, the conversation will soon descend into who has the loudest voice and the best comeback. You can respectfully disagree without making a scene.

Many people confuse giving their opinion with insulting someone else’s.

3. Ignore the Dave-bashing.

People like to “catch” Dave on everything from his opinion on credit cards to him supposedly being “one of those rich guys in a big house.” These days, many people confuse giving their opinion with insulting someone else’s. Don’t take the bait. Dave’s been dealing with haters long before Taylor Swift started singing about it. And he can handle himself just fine. If someone begins bashing, find a way out—go grab dessert or fake an important phone call. They’re allowed to vent, but you’re also allowed to ignore them.

A Final Word

When you’re secure in how you handle your money, people notice. And they’ll come to you when they’re ready. Until then, don’t waste your breath. People have to be open to change before they will listen to reason.

In the meantime, enjoy your appetizers and smile at the naysayers. Besides, what’s a Christmas party without a few grinches? 

Related: Family Feud: 5 Holiday Fights to Stop Before They Start

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