It’s Not All About “Things” - Avoid Overspending This Holiday Season
The holidays are here, and for many of us, that means decking the halls, planning parties, and finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list. The festive atmosphere and the constant barrage of commercials make it easy to get caught up in the holiday spending frenzy. However, if you’re not careful, you can end up with a serious post-holiday hangover that leaves you feeling drained.
Not only can overdoing it take a major toll on your mental health, it can also leave a serious dent in your budget. If this happens to you, you won’t be alone. According to a recent survey1, holiday spending caused Americans to rack up an average of just over $1,200 in debt last year. Not surprisingly, 64 percent of these people said that doing so wasn’t a part of their plan. Even if you don’t find yourself in debt, depleting your cash reserves can leave you in a precarious position.
So how do you make the most of the holiday season without overspending? Start with these five tips.
1. Remember That “It’s Not All About Things”
Truly enjoying the holidays starts with changing your mindset. Instead of worrying about all the things you need to buy, try turning your attention to how you spend your time.
Do you really need to spend hours in the shopping mall looking for gifts? Instead, consider scaling back on gift-giving and planning a cookie bake-off, game night, or holiday movie marathon. The memories you’ll make will last a lifetime, and it sure beats fighting traffic and crowds!
Remember that the holidays are less about “what we get” and more about taking the time to appreciate the things we already have. The most valuable gift you can give is the gift of your time and presence to those you care about most. Not only will changing your mindset help you avoid overspending, it also creates an opportunity to instill these values in your children and grandchildren.
2. Choose Your Gifts Carefully
For many, gift giving is part of what makes the holidays fun. If you aren’t ready to part with this tradition, that’s okay! However, before you pull out your wallet, you may want to reconsider the types of gifts you give.
While a new toy or the latest electronic device might make your loved ones squeal with joy, the excitement will quickly fade. Why not start a new holiday tradition and give the gift of experiences instead? This could be anything from tickets to a museum, escape room, or local attraction to the promise of spending a day together where the recipient can choose whatever he or she wants to do.
3. Give a Gift That Keeps on Giving
Did you know that while only 3.1 percent of the world’s children live in the United States, they own over 40 percent of the toys consumed globally2?” Take a look in most kid’s playrooms, and this statistic probably won’t surprise you.
Instead of adding to clutter, think about giving the children in your life a gift that will keep on giving. Open a 529 College Savings Plan, purchase some shares of stock, or help them set up their own savings account. Not only will your contribution have a chance to grow and compound over the years, you’ll also have the opportunity to teach them important lessons about saving and investing.
4. Spread Some Holiday Cheer
While it’s easy to get wrapped up in the things we’re doing for our family and friends, it’s important not to forget about doing something for those less fortunate. Instead of going overboard on buying gifts for each other, talk to your family and see if they would consider “adopting” a needy family. Or, plan a group trip to the grocery store to stock up on items to donate to your local food bank.
You could also skip the spending altogether and plan a day of volunteering at your local homeless shelter, visiting seniors in a nursing home, or cuddling dogs and cats at an animal shelter. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities, so take some time to find one that truly speaks to you.
5. Don’t Overdo It
Perhaps the most important tip of all is simply not to overdo it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of splurging more than you should because “it’s only once a year.” While there’s nothing wrong with indulging a little bit here and there, don’t ignore your budget.
Also, avoid the emotional triggers that cause us to overspend. Try not to shop when you’re feeling tired or lonely and don’t make the mistake of thinking you have to buy extravagant gifts to show people how much you care. Instead, plan a simple lunch date, offer to babysit, or take the time to choose one small, heartfelt item that has real meaning.
If you’ve already purchased your holiday gifts, it’s not too late to add some of these ideas into the mix. The quality family time and precious memories you’ll make will help reduce your stress and give you a chance to celebrate the true meaning of the season.
Happy Holidays from Moseley Investment Management
From our family to yours, we would like to wish you a safe and happy holiday season filled with all of life's little joys. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
- Americans With Holiday Debt Added an Average of $1,230 — Up From $1,054 in 2017.https://www.magnifymoney.com/blog/news/2018-holiday-debt-survey/
- 21 Surprising Statistics That Reveal How Much Stuff We Actually Own. https://www.becomingminimalist.com/clutter-stats/