Smart Spending During Holiday Season

Updated insider information by Chellie Campbell, author of “The Wealthy Spirit: Daily Affirmations for Financial Stress Reduction”

336 – December 2

“A man is a person who will pay two dollars for a one-dollar item he wants. A woman will pay one dollar for a two-dollar item she doesn’t want.”—William Binger

People often moan about their budget-busting behavior during the holidays. They shop from their “See-it-want-it-get-it” mentality. As they bustle through the malls, shopping for the perfect gifts for their husband, children, boss, Aunt Sally and Uncle Harry, they lose all control over spending. They forget their spending priorities, giving their credit cards a major workout. They remember—too late!—when the bills start arriving on January 2nd.

Who wants to spend the first three months of the New Year regretting—and paying for—their bad behavior at Christmas time?

Here is a plan for smart spending during the holidays:

1. Write special abundance affirmations, such as, “I find the perfect gifts at the perfect price for everyone on my list” and repeat them out loud each day. Make sure to say them on your way to the mall.

2. Do some of your shopping at crafts fairs, church, or neighborhood boutiques. You can often find beautiful hand-crafted items that are very reasonably priced because people enjoy making them as their hobby, rather than as a profit-making venture.

3. Shop early—look for presents when a sale is on at your favorite store.

4. Remember that your closest friends and family might be on Low Budget—they might heave a huge sigh of relief and be very grateful to you if you suggest a spending limit for your gift exchange.

5. Give someone a gift certificate to their favorite store. On many occasions, I’ve given gift certificates to my nieces and nephews to toy stores, hobby stores, and book stores. (Who can keep up with the clothing styles, musical tastes, and movie star crushes of teenagers anyway?) I’ve stayed on budget and the kids had fun shopping.

6. Give food. I’ve never seen anyone be disappointed by a gift of delicious homemade bread, or cake, or candy. Gloria Winter, down the street from my dad, made delicious candy every year and I regarded it as one of my favorite things each Christmas.

7. Get involved in a charity. Spend a few hours serving food at the homeless shelter, collecting toys for needy children, singing Christmas carols at the hospital. A chiropractor I know has one day during the holiday season when the price of an office visit is canned food that will be donated to the needy. Nothing will do more for your sense of peace, joy and goodwill.

8. Thank God for your abundance.

Today’s Affirmation: “I give and receive all gifts with love and appreciation.”

golden-gift-box

For years, each member of my family bought gifts for every other person in the family. And as my sisters got married, then had children, the gift lists got longer and longer. I loved buying presents for everyone, but it did become a bigger and bigger budget item as the nuclear family of five became seven then became twelve and now there are grandchildren, too…

Whew, that was a lot of shopping!

A few years ago, we had a family discussion and decided that we would change our tradition. Now, instead of buying so many individual presents, we draw names at Thanksgiving. We keep who we’ve drawn a secret, we have a spending limit, and at least part of our gift has to be home-made. That gets our creative juices going, and we’ve had a ball watching everyone open their “Secret Santa” gift and see what was made for them. Gifts have included a photo album of a family vacation to Hawaii, home made oatmeal raisin cookies, a fold-up wooden puzzle box covered in family pictures, a video montage, a pillow with photos printed on fabric, a jigsaw puzzle, etc.

But we all still buy presents for the kids. It’s just too much fun to give up shopping at the toy store!

How does your family shop for the holidays? What are your special traditions?