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The holiday season is upon us yet again. It’s a great time to be with family and friends, but it is also that time of year when people tend to overspend on crap that they do not need. Or they spend too much money on gifts for people when they are already in massive debt themselves.
Generosity is a great thing, but if you are struggling financially, it is not the best idea to get into more debt by buying gifts you can’t afford during the holidays. The best gift you can give yourself is to not dig deeper into the financial hole you are already in.
I’ve listed the 6 ways to not overspend this holiday season. I use them all the time, especially during this time of year. If you follow some or all of them, I know you will save a bundle when it comes to spending money during this most wonderful time of the year.
Know that people won’t remember what you got them for Christmas
People never remember what you got them for Christmas. Ask anybody in your family or your friends and I guarantee they will struggle in telling you what you got them for Christmas last year. Having said that, why on earth would you splurge on gifts that they will forget in no time?
Instead of splurging on a gift you can’t afford for somebody, buy something more affordable for them instead. I love the Dollar Tree store. Check out some of the great items they have for the lowest prices around.
So the next time you are thinking of buying a lavish gift for someone, just remember they won’t remember it a year from now anyway. However, people do like to open things that are gift wrapped or in gift bags during the holidays. And you can buy all those goodies at the Dollar Tree. Hey, it’s the thought that counts.
Don’t buy things just because it’s on sale. Unless it’s a NEED, not a want
During the holidays, many retailers will try to entice you to buy a lot of crap that you don’t need. They will mark the items down in price and flash a huge SALE ad in your face so you are more likely to buy it. Don’t fall for it though. This is how many people end up with a pile of junk in their house that they don’t ever need.
Just because something is on sale, does not mean you have to buy it. So don’t. Unless it is a need. So how do you differentiate between a need and a want? It’s fairly simple. A need is something you can’t live without. You can’t live without food, so that is a need and you must buy food or plant your own. So if you see a good holiday sale on food that you normally eat, go buy it.
A want is the latest cell phone model from Apple. You can live without the latter.
Kids will be bored with the toy you give them within a few hours or a few days
I know Christmas is mainly for the kiddies, but don’t buy them the hottest and most expensive toy in the store. I learned this lesson the hard way. Many years ago my little niece wanted this expensive doll house for Christmas, so I went ahead and bought it for her. She was so happy when she got it and that made me happy.
But within a few days, the dollhouse was pushed in the corner of her room collecting dust. Now, if I could do this all over again, I would still have bought her a doll house, but I would have chosen a more affordable one than the one I got her.
So the next time you buy a child a Christmas gift, make sure you shop around for the most affordable toy. In the end, no matter what you get them, it will end up in the same junk pile anyway.
Put money for gifts towards your bills or savings instead
If you have debt, then the best thing you can do during the holidays is pay them down. Don’t be pressured into buying gifts you cannot afford for yourself or for other people. People make the holidays a perfect excuse to over indulge and spend money that they don’t even have. Please do not do this.
Instead of buying Christmas gifts you can’t afford, pay down your debts instead. Pay more than the minimum amount due on your credit card bill this month. Or make a bigger payment towards your student loan debt.
If you are saving towards a goal, like a down payment for a house or a vacation, then put the money you were going to spend on gifts towards your goals instead. Remember, the holidays come and go but the home you live in and the memories you make while on a vacation can last a lifetime.
Dread the credit card bill that will come in January
When all the gift wrapping paper is ripped to shreds and the all gift bags are put in the trash and all the toys are collecting dust. And opened gifts are waiting to be exchanged, returned or up for sale on eBay guess what comes next?
The dreaded credit card bill that will arrive next month. So now that everyone has had their fun during the holidays, the hard part always comes next. It’s like eating that decadent chocolate cake in one sitting. It was great at the time of consumption, but now you feel downright awful about it. Paying that credit card bill is always tough, especially the month after Christmas and when you are already drowning in debt. So why do it to yourself?
Before you make any purchases for the holidays, always think about that credit card statement that will always follow after. If you do this, it will help prevent you from making those big ticket item purchases you will most likely regret come next month.
Live as if you are going to lose your job tomorrow
Having the fear of losing your livelihood will make anybody not overspend on things they don’t need and save more money instead. You should remind yourself of this, especially during the holidays.
As some of you may know because I keep repeating it, I’ve been laid off several times in my life. I know how it feels like to struggle with money. There was a time where I didn’t know how I was going to pay my bills and my mortgage.
I think about those days in my life and it forces me to not overspend. It actually works like a charm. If you’ve been through job losses, then you know what I’m talking about. Use that fear to force good spending habits for yourself. If you have this mentality, you will never spend frivolously on gifts that people do not need.
So having said all the ways I curb my spending during the holidays, I’d like to take this time to wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday!
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