I’ve pretty much gotten all of my Christmas gifting wrapped up. Ok, so not all of the presents are actually wrapped and under the tree. But I have at least purchased, or made, most of the things I’ll be giving as gifts this year.
Now that my kids are adults, they get fewer gifts from my husband and me than when they were small. We all discussed it a few years ago and agreed that Christmas shouldn’t make everyone overspend.
Since making the decision to spend less we’ve found our holidays are happier. Rather than unwrapping gifts for several hours, we play games together and enjoy the day more.
Another thing that’s great is that we don’t have regret come January when the credit card bills come. According to Bankrate.com, nearly half of Americans feel they must overspend when gifting. But our strategies prevent us from being guilt tripped into overspending. Here are some gifting strategies to avoid buyer’s remorse that you can try.
1. Don’t Shop with Materialistic Friends
Everyone knows they can use discount codes, sales, and other tactics to save money. But sometimes, to avoid buyer’s remorse later on, who you shop with is just as important.
Do you have a materialistic friend or relative that sometimes shops with you? While you may cherish them, don’t do your gift shopping when they’re along for the trip. That way they won’t negatively impact your spending without knowing it.
As an alternative, shop by yourself or with someone you know to be frugal. Not only will you spend less, you might get some good, inexpensive gift ideas from them along the way.
2. Avoid Impulse Buying
To keep your gift budget on track and prevent going into debt for the holidays, avoid impulse buying. Of course, one way to do that is to go alone, or take the right person with you (see point number one above!). However, you can also do it with careful planning of what you will buy.
Start with a list of everyone you intend to buy for. Next, choose items that cater to their personalities and likes but aren’t overly expensive. Obviously you will need to also have a budget so you know how much you can spend on each person.
Once you are in a store, or shopping online, don’t allow yourself to deviate from your list. Obviously it’s ok to have fun while doing your shopping. Nevertheless, limiting distractions increases the chances of success while decreasing impulse buys.
3. Create a Back-up Plan
After you have a budget and a list it’s time to shop for gifts. But as the number of days until Christmas dwindles, you may begin to panic. You could feel an urgency to complete your shopping and wrapping.
Sadly, this is just one more way you could overspend on gifts. It can cause you to buy something more expensive than you originally planned just to get something under the tree.
Fortunately, there’s no need to panic. Even if the gift you meant to buy is sold out you don’t have to overspend on something else. Just make a back-up plan to avoid it.
One way is to give them a food item you know they’ll like, along with an IOU for the original item. Or, wrap up an experience, such as movie tickets and money for snacks, or theme park tickets.
Something else you could do to save money is to give a group gift instead of multiple individual ones. Give a gift card to a favorite restaurant or provide a coupon for a home cooked meal that is your specialty. Nearly everyone would like gifts that you’ve DIYed.
4. Gift Your Time
There’s another gifting strategy that can help you avoid buyer’s remorse and overspending. Give of your time instead of material objects.
When you possess skills, such as plumbing, carpentry, or other sought after talents, give them as gifts to others. Wrap up a coupon that has no expiration date for one free day of carpentry. Or, offer babysitting, dog walking, sewing, or other services you have the ability to provide. You might be amazed at their actual value and how much they are appreciated by the receiver.
5. Earn Some Extra Cash
Earning extra cash is a strategy that can also help your budget stay on track. There are lots of ways you can still earn extra money in the next few weeks before Christmas.
Try signing up to drive for Uber or selling excess stuff you have lying around. Make money wrapping gifts for others, doing their shopping, cleaning, or snow shoveling. There are plenty of ways to add money to your budget that will help you avoid buyer’s remorse later.
Even if you don’t yet have all of your holiday preparations completed, there’s no reason to feel anxious. You still have time to get everything done and avoid buyer’s remorse in January.
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Have you overspent your holiday budget in past years and paid for it in January?