How much do you typically spend on gifts for the holidays? In 2019, the average household spent just under $1,500 on gifts during November and December*.
Stores will do their best to entice you beyond your spending comfort level with special sales, limited-quantity promotions and aggressive online marketing. Dodge the January “How do I repay this credit card bill?” trap by avoiding these items that tempt us to overspend during the holidays.
The “Only one left – buy it now” call to action
This strategy tricks you into believing that if you don’t click right away, it will be gone. Impulse buys like this can lead to breaking the budget without realizing it. Remember that there are often multiple retailers with more stock and deals to come. Chances are it’s really not the last one.
The “She bought us a gift, so we need to get her a gift” dilemma
A gift is just that – a gift. Whether it’s from a friend or even a company giving away free items, make sure it’s included in your budget. If you still think that giving a gift in return is important, give yourself a gut check first. Why do you give gifts? Is it because you want something back? The answer is probably no. A genuine thank you means more than anything.
The “It’s what we always do” predicament
This happens in families and offices around the globe. Perhaps you started giving gifts when the nieces and nephews were young and you could find something for $5 each, and now they’re 25 years old, and you’re still doing it, but at a much higher price tag. Review these traditions and decide as a family or work group if it is time to modify it so everyone can enjoy the holidays a little more.
The “They will be so impressed” move
Peer pressure is real, and especially online. Do you buy an expensive gift knowing that your girlfriend will post it online, and you are sure to impress others? Decide if the 30 seconds of “OMG, you are so lucky,” is worth busting your budget.
You can ring in the new year comfortable with your spending choices and your ability to repay any credit card debt you’ve incurred when you make good decisions. If you are already struggling financially, you have a choice and don’t need to go further into debt. The holidays are meant to be joyful, not stressful, so make smart choices to make sure you still feel joyful in January!