This post is late, but why not start planning for next year?
In the last two years, I kept spending an outrageous amount of money during the holiday season, leading to a financial hangover the coming year. I’d live like a hermit the first couple of months of the succeeding year in order to make up for money blown on the holiday season.
A toxic way to live if you think about it. And for what? To impress people? Show off?
This year I decided to change that. I planned a vacation during Black Friday, taking me away from one of the most hectic and marketed times of the year. I also made it a point to get more meaningful gifts, only for the few people around me who truly deserves them.
In this week’s blog post, I’ll go over holiday spending statistics, ways you can lower your holiday spending in 2019, and what the holiday season is about!
When money is tight, holiday spending seems to trickle down to reasonable levels. But when the economy is doing well, people lose their minds. Since the 2008 recession, holiday season spending has increased year after year to where it’s predicted to exceed $1.1 trillion in 2018, a 5% increase from 2017.
Let’s take the infamous “Black Friday” for example. It used to be a one day only event and now it seems to last an entire month. That’s sixty days (November and December) of companies marketing garbage down your throat. No wonder people spend so much money during this time of the year. It’s all people see for two months straight.
I find it troubling that U.S. adults are predicted to spend an average of $885 on gifts alone in 2018:
- 33% of people spend at least $1,000.
- 22% spend between $500-$999.
That’s a lot of wasted money on gifts that people will probably outgrow, not want, or never really use.
What the Holidays Are About
We all know growing up as kids we wanted that cool Christmas gift everyone else was getting. But looking back on life as an adult, I don’t remember a single Christmas gift, ever.
One thing I do remember were certain holidays spent with people whom I care for.
Materialistic goods don’t matter, especially in the long run. All that really matters are times with loving people. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to prove you care about someone, just a tad bit of effort goes a mile.
Challenge yourself this holiday season. At your holiday gathering, pick someone you haven’t seen or talked to in quite some time. Sit next to them and initiate a conversation. It’ll do you and them some good. Way more good than any new pair of shoes or purse will ever offer.
What to Do Instead?
I’ll follow previous trends and assume holiday spending averages will be higher next year (minus a recession). Here are some ways to NOT follow the status quo.
Start holiday planning early. If you have to travel for the holidays, begin tracking flights now and book your air flights ahead of time when prices are ideal.
Do some beginning of the year and mid year cleaning. Doing this enables you to get rid of stuff you don’t use and turn some valuable items into cash.
Not everyone with your last name needs a gift. Make yourself a reasonable list of people you plan on buying gifts for and create a budget for each person. A budget that isn’t followed is pointless, so stick to it.
Also, if you have trouble spending money, ditch the credit card during the holiday season. Purchase your gifts, supplies, decorations with cash only and I promise you you’ll spend WAY less than you normally would.
Typically, the hosts of parties spend the most money on average. If you’re constantly the host of holiday parties, see if someone else wants to do it next year while offering to bring something or help out in return.
The biggest way to save money on gifts is to personalize them. Wrap your own presents, and write your own cards. Put in a little extra effort. It’s easy to buy people expensive gifts, get them professionally wrapped, calling it done, but that doesn’t require much thought does it? I typically try to include a personally typed letter in all my Christmas gifts. It doesn’t cost me a dime, and shows I care.
Hope you all enjoyed this week’s post! If you’ve missed last week’s post on why everyone should use LinkedIn, click here! As always, don’t forget to like, comment, share, and subscribe!
“All you need is your family and the bare essentials.”
Book of the Month: “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace D Wattles