We’re right in the middle of the December, also known as the silly season, festive season, year end and by many as Christmas time.
It’s the time to spend money and whatever your beliefs, you have to agree that shopping malls and online sites go completely overboard with decorations and marketing adverts. Everyone is trying to get you to part with your money and the marketing teams are very good at pulling at your heartstrings.
We’re made to believe that this one day is the only day in the year that we can really show how much we love our families. We’re told that we deserve to spoil ourselves. We’re pressured into believing that bigger gifts equate to more love. And of course we feel guilty about not buying the “right” gifts; those that are touted to be the “in thing”.
It’s hard to ignore all the sentiment and marketing. And it’s even harder if you have kids who don’t fully understand the value of things and that it’s pointless to compare yourself to others. So what can you do to avoid completely messing up your budget by buying gifts, spoiling yourself and your family and enjoying a bit of down time?
Here are 6 ideas that might assist:
Discuss a gifting budget with your partner and family
Talk to your partner and family upfront about the general expectations on gifting. Set a budget that suites everyone and then stick to it. Even if you feel really generous, rather stick to a budget for gifts and use any spare money for outings and family time.
On the topic of a gift budget; use the same discussion to find out what everyone would like to receive. Rather get a gift that is appreciated than one that you think will be “perfect”.
Discuss “late” gifting
Late gifting is simply deferring the Christmas gifts for a week or two. The purpose of this is to take advantage of all the sales that happen just after Christmas Day. The first week is generally full of great specials, but the second week even more! It may not be suitable to you, it’s just an idea. Late gifting also means that you don’t have to fight your way through the shopping malls during the mad shopping sprees.
Remember that it is just one day within the year
The whole craziness of the festivities can become quite overwhelming and even stressful. Just remember, it’s only one day. Much the same as any other day. It is lovely to have the whole family around and to enjoy a wonderful feast but it’s easy to overdo it and to overspend, over stress and over exhaust ourselves. It’s just one day folks.
Host a bring & share Christmas Day lunch
We love hosting dinner parties and this whole festive season is full of opportunities to have friends and family over. Make it a bring and share dinner or even Christmas lunch. People want to contribute and want to be part of the fun. Don’t feel that you’re being “cheap” by suggesting it; it’s perfectly normal!
It’s fun giving gifts to friends and colleagues but instead of buying something for everyone, why not make a batch of cookies or something nice? Homemade gifts are really special to receive and generally speaking will end up better for your budget and be well appreciated. They may take a bit more effort but it’s probably worth it if you want to keep your budget in tact this month.
Gift your future self with savings
If you’re unsure of what to get yourself or your partner, you can of course save money towards a specific goal. If you’re planning an overseas trip you could decide to not buy each other gifts and rather use that money for a nice activity on your trip. Or if you have a financial goal that you’re working towards, think about what will give you more pleasure. A gift or setting that money towards your goal?
You don’t need to be a Scrooge, but at the same time don’t allow others to make you feel guilty about how you choose to spend your money.
Hope you have an awesome festive period and use this time to reflect on the year past and the new one coming up.