Stop Sign just released its holiday e-commerce numbers for the week, and according to the report, this past week was the heaviest five-day online shopping period on record. So far, retail e-commerce spending for the first 44 days of the November–December 2012 holiday season was $33.8 billion up 13 percent. Read that number again, folks… 33.8 BILLION. And that’s just online purchases. Yikes!

If you’ve already blown your budget for this year and next combined, it may be too late to say this, but love is not spelled, M-O-N-E-Y.

This holds especially true for those of us who enable adult children and/or grandchildren. They really can’t afford a cell phone, so we buy one for them. They can’t swing the cost of a laptop, so we charge one for them. Wearing designer clothing is way out of their budget, but we manage to find the money for that pair of Nike’s. Some of us are even gifting house payments, car payments, insurance fees, and the list goes on…and on….and on. And we’re not just doing this at Christmas time.

Believe me, I’m not a Grinch. It’s great to see the looks on the faces of loved ones when they open their holiday gifts. But as a chronic enabler, I had to ask myself WHY I was going broke buying things for other people that I couldn’t afford…and during the times when I could afford these things, was making the purchase a wise choice? What was my motivation for costly gift giving?

Please do not misunderstand me, not all gift giving is enabling behavior. However, if this season already has you tied up in knots because of financial challenges, it’s time to STOP, Step Back, and Start the road to SANITY.

Change STARTS when we STOP repeating our own negative habits. And when it comes to setting healthy boundaries with adult children, a major component is to STOP the Flow of Money. How can we give from our hearts and not our wallets?

Adapted from Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children, Six Steps to Hope and Healing by Allison Bottke © 2008. Harvest House Publishers. All rights reserved.

Visit the Setting Boundaries Books website today for more information.