Christmas is right around the corner and so is that extra $500 you are about to charge up on your credit card. We live in a society obsessed with consumerism and unfortunately that mindset is only magnified by the advertisements surrounding the holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, giving gifts is a wonderful thing and consumerism helps keep our economy afloat; but that shouldn’t mean taking on extra debt just to give your sister’s husband’s mother (who you don’t even like) a gift.
Let’s face it, I would bet that a quarter of the people that we buy for at Christmas probably would fail to notice if we happened not to buy for them this year. I’m guilty of it myself; I go out shopping with my list and my predetermined budget and then I see THE cutest baby attire and just HAVE to purchase it for one of my many nephews….which leads to purchasing more “stuff” for all of my other nephews so that they all get an equal amount of gifts and so my oldest sister won’t think I went cheap on her kid and splurged on my younger sister’s kid. You see where I’m going with this? The rationale we use around Christmas gift giving is, well, nonexistent in most cases. We are emotional shopping machines!
So if you want to keep your emotions and budget in check this holiday, follow these simple suggestions and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the holidays and stressing less about the credit card bill you’ll receive in January.
- Set your holiday budget
This requires you to sit down (include loved ones if you’re not the only one who will be purchasing gifts from your bank account) and decide how much you are willing and can afford to spend this holiday. Be honest with yourself and try not to rely on outside factors like what you “expect” to get on your Christmas bonus. I mean, have you seen Christmas vacation? Simply decide, “How much can I truly afford to spend and still feel comfortable this Christmas?”
- Make your list
This step can be a little tricky, especially for someone like myself who really loves to buy gifts for others and would buy for everyone if given enough money. But again, be honest! Do you like this person? Are you close with them? Are you only buying for them out of guilt? Would this person be cool with not exchanging gifts and maybe going out for coffee instead? Whittle down that list until you get to the bare minimum, the people who you actually want to give gifts to and a number that you can afford to give gifts to.
- Don’t go overboard
Once you’ve set your budget and made your list, go through and distribute how much you want to spend on each person on your list. Go shopping and try your very best NOT to go over that set amount. Just because what you originally planned to purchase for a certain person was on sale, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should buy extra gifts for that person. This can lead into feeling like you have to buy extra for everyone else, too. Count your blessings that you saved money and move on to the next person on your list.
- Factor in all the holiday “extras”
I don’t know about you but I LOVE to bake around the holidays. However, something as simple as baking can really add up when you are baking for almost two months straight! Don’t forget to factor in these little “extras” into your holiday budget. Even though you might be getting wrapping paper and baking supplies at the grocery, those items still increase your bill and if you haven’t budgeted that into your grocery allotment for the month then that extra money has to come from somewhere else.
- Enjoy the holidays for what they are really about
Last but certainly not least, remember what this time of year is really about: spending time with the people you really care about, eating yummy food, and being a blessing to others. Don’t become so wrapped up in the hustle of shopping, baking, and decorating that you forget to sit down and simply enjoy this most joyful time of year with friends and family. That my friends, is what it’s all about.
Author: Abby Gruber
Abby is the Marketing Strategist and Copywriter for Richwood Marketing. She enjoys helping businesses discover and promote what makes them unique as well as helping to capture those ideas in writing. Abby is responsible for maintaining Richwood Bank’s blog and is always open to hearing your ideas and suggestions. If you have a certain topic you would like covered, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.