It’s getting down to the wire and if you’re like most of us, you’re starting to stress out about Christmas shopping. We all want to show our family and friends how much they mean to us, which usually translates to Christmas gifts around this time of the year. The shopping malls are full of people and it can be a stressful experience to spend a lot of money on gifts. Here are some tips to help you sail through the Christmas shopping experience this year.
Set a Budget
It’s so easy to spend too much money when you want to buy nice gifts for everyone. The economy is recovering, but most of us are still hurting from the big recession. Check your bank account and see how much you can really afford to spend on gifts this year. Try your best not to put anything on the credit card. If you already have a lot of debt, then perhaps consider skipping gift giving this year. In any case, if you have some funds available then set a budget and stick to it. It’s easy to overspend when you go on a gift shopping spree so keep track of how much you spend and don’t go over your budget. One way to do this is to just use cash. It’s easy and once the cash is gone, shopping is over.
I hate shopping malls. There are way too many people running around the stores this time of the year. It’s much easier to shop online now. Amazon sells everything under the sun and you don’t have to stand in long lines to pay for your gifts. Check for Amazon coupons before you pay and you might even save a few dollars extra. Shopping online is so much easier. I don’t how I got through the pre-Amazon years.
You know what I appreciate most during the holidays? It’s the chance to spend quality time with family and friends. Gifts are great, but spending time together is worth so much more. Over the last few years, Mrs. RB40 and I have set a $20 gift limit and just enjoy spending time with each other. Our kid is only 2 years old so he doesn’t care much about gifts yet. We have been rotating his toys, so if we bring out one that he hasn’t seen in awhile, it will be as though it is new again. We’ll probably have to spend a bit more money on toys next year, but for now, time is what we will spend.
Some people might think it’s tacky (I really think this is a US thing), but I love getting cash for Christmas. I’d rather take the cash and buy what I really want than getting an ugly sweater any day. Giving cash is easy and convenient for everyone. Do you think giving cash is tacky? I grew up in a different culture where money is a perfectly acceptable gift.
Go Shopping After Christmas
Here is the perfect chance to spend that gift money. After Christmas is a great time to go shopping. The stores may still be busy, but that feeling of frenetic urgency is not there, creating a more relaxed atmosphere. There are also a ton of discounts due to returns and other end-of- year sales.
Our lifestyle has played a big part in how we feel about gifts and shopping during the holidays. Living in minimum square footage has made us very conscious about acquiring more stuff, and we would not want to foist similar stuff onto others. Mrs. RB40 is impossible to buy for anyway, and she actually agrees with me. We also have been grateful for the time we can spend with our family and friends, and find that the pressure placed on people to find the perfect gift is nothing short of ridiculous. Why stress ourselves out when the holidays should be a time of celebration and joy? That’s why it’s called a holiday, and not stress day. But if you insist on gifts, then remember these tips.
photo credit: flickr teamaskins