Getting a Handle on Christmas Finance
More than one trillion dollars is spent during the Christmas shopping season. While acknowledging the contribution that holiday spending makes to many retailers (that’s how “Black Friday” got its name—it’s the day many shops start to go into the “black” for the entire year’s income), at the same time, many of us feel inundated with “stuff” or feel pressured to spend big by advertisements and cultural expectations.
But stepping back from the consumerist noise can bring relief—to both your pocket book and your spirit. Here are some tips for avoiding a post-Christmas cash hangover:
Make a list of gifts you plan to buy and stick with it. Stores are very cleverly designed to tempt you into buying more, staying longer, making impulse purchases. But if you make a list of who you want to give gifts to and what you’ll get each person, then ordering online is one way to avoid temptation, plus the convenience! Another approach is to make “strategic” forays into specific stores for the specific items you’ve already decided to buy. Get in, get out!
Give experiences, not gifts. When my niece and nephew were young, I gave them “gift certificates” for special 1:1 experiences with me. Things we did weren’t necessarily expensive—just a day at the Zoo, pedicures, a drive around town to see the Christmas lights, or a day trip to see a local waterfall, for example—but giving them my time and undivided attention has had a lasting impact. Here are more ideas for experience giving: https://www.attainable-sustainable.net/giving-experiences-instead-of-gifts/
Agree on Limits. If there are like-minded folks among your family and friends, you can band together to create a simpler Christmas ethos. For example, agree on a $20 gift limit, or agree among your extended clan that only the children in each family will receive gifts from the other families while the adults just do a Secret Santa exchange (1 gift each).
Track your spending and save receipts. You can see how well you did sticking to that original budget, and adjust your plans for next year if needed. Not to mention how frustrating it is when you end up with a gift that doesn’t fit or breaks, while the receipt got lost somewhere among piles of Christmas wrapping.
Follow this advice, and maybe you’ll even rediscover some of the joys of the season!
NOTE: This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel. Individuals involved in the estate planning process should work with an estate planning team, including their own personal legal or tax counsel. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a representation by us of a specific investment or the purchase or sale of any securities. Asset allocation and diversification do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. This material was developed and produced by Louis Butera to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Copyright 2019, Louis Butera Wealth Management, LLC.