As we head into the holidays please remember the goals you are striving for. At the beginning of the year I am sure you set out savings goals and credit score goals. It is important that you don’t allow inevitable things like holidays to derail those goals. Here are a few tips I have that will allow you to buy gifts and still maintain your financial plan.
The best gift you can give someone is the gift of getting your stuff together.
First and foremost, please make sure that you can afford to give and still be solid. Don’t pull from reserves for gifts. Don’t max out credit cards for gifts. If you have to do either of the above, you might need to sit this Christmas out and that’s okay. I recommend that if you are struggling this year that you punt Christmas and use that Christmas money to get your stuff together. Use that $500-$1000 or more and throw it at your old debt and collection accounts if any.
A cool idea is that instead of giving actual gifts make it fun and maybe gift people a note that says you are getting your stuff together this year. You can even wrap it up in a box and have them open it. They will get a laugh out of it and they will be proud of you and your future self will be proud as well. If they are really in your corner they wouldn’t want you to stretch yourself too thin so that they can a gift. If they aren’t in your corner why are you buying them a gift in the first place bro?
If you are struggling but you still want to give something, at least do it within reason. Here is how:
Don’t buy impressive gifts
Don’t get me wrong, I love giving and I love Christmas. However, I realize though that in order to get where you want to go you have to resist certain urges. One of those urges is the desire to woo people with your giving. I define “impressive” and “wooing” as the amount OVER what would ordinarily be a nice gift. For example, if you would normally buy her a pair of shoes, a woo gift is a pair of shoes with the purse and perfume. That extra $500 is your goals bro.
When you are buying gifts, make sure that you are buying smart gifts not over gifting in an effort to impress people, unless you got it like that. As a culture, we have to get outside of the habit of impressing people with things. We can’t protest and ball out at the same time. Not yet. That will come. As for me, I would rather be financially secure than have your approval. This is truly significant because if you are like me, you have spent good money on gifts that people don’t even use.
Don’t feed into guilt. There are people who have expectations of what you should get them and what you should do for them. Those people won’t be around when the rent is late or when you need an extra ten grand to put toward your rental properties in 2018. Choose yourself, not the approval of others.
Buy combined gifts for couples and kids
Buying combined gifts allows you to knock off two people and average down what you would spend while still giving a qualify gift. Example, instead of spending $75 and $75 on two people, spend $100 on a qualify gift for the both of them. This can be done for married couples as well as parents and even children. Buy them something they can use together or play with together, make them both happy and save a buck or two.
Shave back just a tad
If you have a budget for gifts per person, take that number and cut off ten percent per gift. This will allow you to still get a quality gift but by scaling back each person you can then open up margin to hold onto or squeeze someone else in. Small numbers become big when you multiply that 10% by 10 people.
While shopping online has become more popular I think that there are a lot of ways we save money shopping online that we don’t see. By shopping online you save yourself the time that would be spent waiting in massive lines. You save yourself the gas money that would be spent driving from store to store. The wear and tear on your vehicle and your body. And the food, drinks and entertainment. All of those things add up. Shop from home and save.
Final word: If you are struggling you don’t need to be giving crazy gifts. If you are struggling don’t give me a gift. You ever known someone to give a ton of gifts and then need you for a loan later in the month? What kind of sense does that make?
Remember that financial freedom as a culture is our only hope. This financial freedom is so that you can be free from worry about your housing, food, and other ESSENTIAL needs. Once you can lock down that security then you can begin to splurge. Too many people are dying with no life insurance or inheritance for us to be spending like we have it like that. Too many people are getting sent to jail with no bail or lawyer money. Too many people are getting kicked out of their homes for unpaid taxes for us to spend in the ways that we do.
When you spend and you have glaring holes in your personal finances it might feel good but you will feel the pain later. Go against the norm. Go against what feels good and do the hard work that will pay off later. Gift well this season. If you have any questions please contact one of our personal finance consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org
Be great, Invest well,