It’s easy to feel “spendy” during the holidays. With all “Christmas deals” being plastered in shopping malls, the smell of cinnamon and the sound of jingling bells, it’s hard to resist feeling good and generous towards cash registers. It’s the Zeitgeist of the times inviting you to open up your wallet and join the spending frenzy.
The problem is that all too many people become unmindful of Christmas spending and wake up with a financial hangover as soon as the jingling bells fade.
They start the year paying for bills and interests, and in effect, lose momentum that they need to finally make their New Year financial resolutions become a reality. The cycle continues until who knows when.
In this post, we’ll talk about some of the ways to avoid holiday overspending that leads to New Year financial hangover.
Don’t get us wrong. The goal is to be mindful of Christmas spending – to be conscious of your budget rather than merely being a cheapskate.
Set a Christmas budget to Avoid Overspending
It’s the first step in every major shopping activity. A budget is a spending plan. Without it, it will be easy for you to extend purchases because who knows when you’re going to stop? There’s no plan in place.
Determine how much you can spend from your savings and what kind of celebration you want. How much can you charge on your credit card that you can pay off without much trouble? If you’re strapped for cash, you can use credit but make sure that you can pay your balances in full when the credit card bill arrives.
The problem with plastic is that it makes you think that you can afford as long as it’s within your credit limit. A lot of people fall into thinking that it’s an extra income and end up with a bad, bad debt. So even if you’re using plastic, set a budget.
List everything you need. Then cross out the unnecessary items
When you list things down, you will be able to see them with “fresh eyes” and maybe reconsider your purchasing decision. Think it through: do you really need to buy a new set of plates just for Christmas use? Go over your entire list and cross out things you can DIY or reuse.
Look for bargains
Mark your calendars for sales, discounts, or even rebates from your credit card provider. Holiday sales often start on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. These are great times to buy gifts and store them for wrapping on Christmas Eve. Other sources of bargains are coupons and off course, the Internet. Group buying websites offer huge discounts when there are enough buyers of a certain item. Follow your favorite brands on social media, most likely they will be announcing details of their upcoming sale, if any, on sites like Facebook or Twitter.
Buy in bulk
If you are giving gifts to a group of people, buying in bulk might be a better idea than buying one item per person. For one, it spares you from stress of thinking too much what to give. Then of course, bulk buying often offers bigger savings. Stores want you to buy more that’s why they attract buyers with discounts.
Find good-as-new items to give
Gifts need not be bought. Make rounds inside your house and maybe you will find used items that are still in mint condition. Bags, for instance, don’t get worn out easily. You may even have bought stuff that you never plan to use. Even an unopened bottle of wine may be used as a gift, too.
Give food instead of material things
Christmas is about sharing and food has a way of gathering people together, creating and sharing memories that last far beyond the holidays. There’s no better gift than the gift of sweet memory and good company. And of course, food is usually cheaper than material gifts, especially if you intend to buy one for each of your family members or friends.
Avoid last-minute shopping
Last-minute shopping is costly because when you’re running out of time, you tend to be willing to spend just to do accomplish what you had in mind. We all do this to rid the stress of race against time. You’d run to the store and buy the first brand that catches your attention and you do not have enough time to examine if it’s worth the price tag. Plan your Christmas shopping, instead!
Give of yourself
Sometimes the frenzied buying of material things during the holidays makes us think that the only acceptable gifts are material objects. How about we do something different this year and give an intangible gift such as our time and attention to people who miss us. They are our parents or relatives from another State, or our best friend with whom we haven’t talked for months. When you give of yourself, you need not buy expensive presents. For these people, your presence, a simple meal and a meaningful conversation are enough.
Happy holidays from Financial Rescue LLC!