Who Isn’t Guilty Of Overspending At Christmas?
Overspending At Christmas Has Its Price
Do you spend too much on Christmas presents? Has that become a habit with you?
At one time or another, we’ve all done it…spent too much at Christmas. With so much guilt involved it’s hard not to. We feel guilty if we do not buy the perfect gift (regardless of price). If our family members provide us with a Christmas list we feel obligated to buy every item on the list (regardless of the financial consequences). If we do not “keep up” with other gift givers, we go on a guilt trip. No wonder why so much personal debt is racked up at Christmas time. Personal debt due to overspending at Christmas is due to the common attitudes and concerns of guilt.
But why? The Christmas spirit is not about guilt or satisfaction. Saving for Christmas is not about joining a Christmas club just to make sure you have enough money every year to be prepared for your Christmas spending. Christmas is not supposed to be about Christmas club accounts or satisfying a Christmas list. It is supposed to be about giving and sharing, but not giving until it hurts or puts you into bankruptcy. Christmas time is about family and friends, love and expressions of thanks not about comparing gifts and having our demands met.
How You Can Avoid The Pressure
Who needs extra pressure during the holidays? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Christmas is a time of joy and cheer not pressure and guilt.
Unfortunately holiday spending has taken on a life of its own creating extra pressure. Not only do we over eat, over drink and over indulge at parties and family gatherings during the holiday season but we also over spend. The Christmas season has become a time to justify overspending. Aren’t you tired of overspending at Christmas only to face huge credit card bills and be hit with credit card fees and interest in January? Christmas credit card bills shouldn’t take until March to pay off. If you find yourself in that situation then your holiday spending has taken over your life. Has Christmas shopping become a budget item for you, right next to or sometimes in front of the mortgage or car payments? Do you feel the pressure of “keeping-up” at Christmas time? Do you want to enjoy the season, lighten your stress load, save money and avoid the guilt at Christmas? You can, read on and just follow the 3 simple steps listed below.
Step #1 – Avoid Mandatory
Lists are for grocery shopping not Christmas shopping.
Avoid the shopping stress by skipping the Christmas lists. When your Christmas gifts are straight from a list instead of from the heart, those lists turn into obligatory measures instead of gifts of love, fondness, caring and expressions of thanks. Some of the people we are closest to seem to think that you turn into their personal shopper at Christmas; what a shame. These folks prepare their lists with great detail and when every single item on that list is not presented to them in nicely wrapped packages they feel that you have failed them.
A Christmas list is a guide and should be used as such. Surprise your loved ones this year, get creative and give a gift from the heart not from their Christmas list. If they become upset with your new method, that’s okay, do it again next year.
Step #2 – Leave Impulsive At Home
Are you an impulsive shopper? If so, advertisers love you.
Advertisers are fantastic at hitting your warm-and-fuzzy spots, aren’t they, especially during the holidays? They seem to know how to get you to make impulsive buys even when you know better. To avoid ugly financial consequences in January when you get the Christmas gift credit card bills, pre-set your spending plan with specific limits on how much you will spend. If you make a plan and stick to it, you will be more apt to avoid impulsive spending no matter how tempting.
Impulsive spending at anytime has financial consequences and financial self-discipline does wonders to offset those consequences. If you save up and allocate a certain amount of money for Christmas shopping, do not detour from that plan. It is when we detour from our original spending plan due to impulsive spending that we get ourselves into financial trouble. Save money, create your spending plan and really, really stick to it. You will be glad you did once January rolls around. While your friends, coworkers and other acquaintances are paying down their Christmas credit card bills you will be racking up your savings accounts.
Step #3 – It’s The Thought, Think Of Others
Is Christmas about you or someone else?
Whatever happened to the mindset of “it’s the thought that counts”? Doesn’t anyone adhere to that anymore? In the old days, the fact that someone thought enough about you to give a gift was special enough. Nowadays it seems like that’s not enough. If you don’t give a gigantic, fabulous, expensive gift, it doesn’t really count. Part of that is due to advertisers making us feel guilty if we don’t give the greatest, biggest and most expensive gifts around. True friends, companions and family members care about you because of who you are not because you give the biggest, most expensive gifts at Christmas time.
How creative are you? Unless you stretch beyond your limits how will you know?
Some people have lost the beauty and magic of Christmas by making it more about self than about others. Change that this season, give but give from the heart. The gift of time is just as valuable as the gift of an item or two (or three or four). Give your time away this Christmas. Donate your time at your church or a charity. Tins of homemade cookies make wonderful (and scrumptious) gifts and will not be forgotten like an overpriced phone gadget, expensive piece of jewelry or off the rack sweater. Try it this year, you may be surprised how grateful your loved ones are.