Guilt-Free Christmas Spending
Christmas is a time of year that comes with a lot of pressure and expectation. We all want to provide for our family and make the occasion joyous. It’s great to know that by taking a smarter approach to Christmas shopping, we can bring Christmas to life and avoid breaking the bank.
Having just survived the tempting bargains of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, the Christmas sales are now in full swing. These marketing messages encourage us to spend up big, and they don’t really have your best interests at heart. Online the ads presented to you by powerful algorithms seem to know your desires. But if you’re not careful they also know how to empty your wallet.
Run your own race
Christmas gift-giving is perfectly ok so long as it fits into your budget. However, too often we feel the pressure to make Christmas bigger and better. The combination of clever marketing and social media can make us feel like we’re missing out, or letting our family down, if we don’t spend up big.
As a result, many households find themselves swiping the credit card or using Buy-Now-Pay-Later. These are bad ideas, and you’ll feel the debt hangover in January.
This December is an opportunity to do Christmas differently, all without blowing the budget. Instead of aimlessly wandering through the mall looking for inspiration, form a commitment and be intentional with your gift giving.
Forming a plan will help you to avoid overspending. So, before hitting the shops this festive season, make a list and check it twice. Start by putting your immediate family at the top of the list and set a limit for how much you’ll spend on gifts. Set both a per person limit and an overall spending budget – and hold yourself accountable.
Only the good stuff
Focus on quality gifts rather than quantity. Quality needn’t mean more expensive. However, it does mean that the gift is well considered, meaningful, and will add value to the person receiving it. Think about what would make that person light up when receiving your gift.
Making financial progress in 2023 means reducing debt, not adding to it. Now is the time to draw a line in the sand. Make the commitment that Christmas gift-giving will not result in even one more dollar of debt. Use cash (or debit cards), NOT credit cards, or Buy-Now-Pay-Later.
Free family activities
The memory of a great family experience will live on long after the latest gadget, or must-have toy, has disappeared. Grab a football, a cricket bat, a frisbee, a blanket, some snacks from the pantry, and head to the local park for the afternoon. Or pull out a board or card game and gather the family around the kitchen table. These free activities are actually priceless.
Build your community
Check out the local newspaper to find the free community activities. This could include going along to Carols by Candlelight, going to see Christmas lights in your area, or free concerts and movie nights.
Finally, look for volunteering opportunities where you can give back to your community. It’s wonderful to serve others who need help, or just some company, at this time of year.
When you budget carefully for Christmas gift-giving, you can enjoy the amazing feeling of guilt-free spending. Being intentional with your actions and planning is the key.
Here’s to a Merry Christmas without the debt hangover.
The message of Christmas is one of hope, love, light and life. It can also be a time for reflection on the challenges and wins of 2022, while looking forward with renewed strength to the year ahead.
Making 2023 a better year with money, starts right now by being intentional with your Christmas shopping. When you plan ahead, you can be the boss of your money, and build your best life.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Article credit: Sloan Wilkins – Executive Financial Coaching