With six weeks left in the year, it’s easy to get swept away with plans, tasks, projects, events, shopping and the holiday buzz. It always takes something to slow down, breathe deeply, practice self-care and connect with what’s important, and it can be particularly challenging at this time of year. Here are three keys to holiday happiness.

1) Debit-only spending. Research shows that men and women tend to overspend by up to 23% simply by using a credit card. Spending money borrowed from your future is a slippery slope and credit card induced magical thinking can lead to financial hangovers. Be grateful I am not suggesting cash-only spending. After one session, a financial therapist put me on a 30-day cash only assignment. I was also instructed to un-do every automatic payment, call to negotiate bill due dates and actually interact with people rather than swiping the card or clicking to “buy now”. It was transformative. True financial freedom comes from conscious guilt-free spending.

2) No spend days. The best antidote to overspending during the holidays is to “fast” or not spend any money a particular day (or two). Many people have the day after Thanksgiving off from work and if you’re at home, be creative and enjoy a staycation. If you’re traveling, be present and do something fun rather than losing a day in lines and competing for stuff. You could use the down time to create a proactive holiday spending plan. Pick one day between now and January 1st to enjoy not spending. Try it with a friend or the whole family and see what comes up!

3) Focus on the simple things. Deep breaths are the fastest way to return to the present moment. There is so much to see here and now – sunlight coming through the window, our family members and friends without assumptions or expectations and the beauty in nature during winter. Gifts are wonderful and giving may even be your primary love language and there are meaningful ways to spend little or no money on the holidays. Words of affirmation, healthy affection, acts of service, quality time and homemade gifts are often more memorable than big tickets items.

My one year old daughter is obsessed with my debit card. She tracks down my purse wherever it’s located in the house, dexterously extracts my wallet and bypasses the cash, gift cards and credit cards to pull out the same Moven debit card every single time. She passes it between her hands, examines the front and back and sometimes even clutches it for up to 20 minutes. Other times, she carries it room to room and then socks it away in her favorite places: the doll’s carriage or under the edge of the carpet. “Whatever is important to mama is important to baby,” a wise woman commented at the playground when the only way I could get her into the stroller was giving her the card. Of course, I’m reading into this and wondering what it means. If, one day, my daughter writes her own money autobiography, will this be her first memory of money? If there is a single lesson I can impart on my child, it’s to be true to yourself. For us as adults, that translates to live within your means, even during the holidays.