Are you one of the 25% who is spending every spare minute and dollars you DO NOT HAVE hitting the malls and Amazon? Adding to the thousands of dollars of credit you are struggling to pay? Women incur ~$1500 in holiday debt and Men ~$1700. If you are NOT capable of buying gifts without increasing your credit debt, you need to DROP THOSE DANGEROUS WEAPONS OF WEALTH DESTRUCTION – YOUR CREDIT CARDS. Ask yourself-heck ask the planned recipients, are these expensive gifts even desired. We all have a family member (no names please) who regardless of what she spends, the gift looks so much better when you donate that ugly thing!
Our parents, partners, friends, and extended family are all deserving of the best. I get that and agree, but I wonder if we sometimes shower each other with expensive gifts (and often times things the recipients do NOT want or need) because we regret NOT spending quality time with those we love. Do you really NEED an expensive gift from Tiffany’s in that beautiful blue box and bag? Two of the people I love are my daughter and brother who are ~700 miles from me. I would take the quality time, over that blue-boxed gift every time!
SO HOW ABOUT WE LOOK AT UNIQUE GIFTS THAT DEMONSTRATE OUR LOVE, VERSUS THE SIZE OF OUR PAYCHECK
UNIQUE AND INEXPENSIVE IDEAS
1.When is the last time you wrote a sincere letter to someone you love? Recently we buried a prolific letter writer, President George Herbert Walker Bush. While we are not the President, I know for a fact how a heart felt letter makes me feel.
2.How about an inexpensive photo calendar. I use to make a family calendar for my Mom every year. It was fun finding just the right pictures and creating funny captions. Especially those funny captions about my brother! Mom would show her calendar to her Christmas visitors and proudly display it for the entire year. And when she passed, I found all of those calendars that she had saved in a special place.
a. FYI: This link gives great sales prices, as low as $7 that you can create for family and friends https://cybermonday.printerpix.com/collections/photo-calendars.
3.Do you have any hobbies? Do you sew, crochet, wood working, great plumber (give me a call), great at dry wall, wedding planning, Hit-Woman (funny how that thought came after wedding) or good photographer? Come on I know you have some talent. I use to do woodworking and sometimes gave projects as gifts. I like to believe I am a good photographer and have gifted my framed pictures as gifts. People appreciate gifts from your hand, your heart and are a part of you. I have several quilts my Grand-mom made for my family. I sleep with one on my bed. And whenever I take the older ones out of the trunk, I sometimes smell and hug those quilts and remember just how much my Grand-mom Nellie meant to my family and me.
4.Does your Mom, Dad, Best Friend need a room painted?
5.Your brother help putting up a new fence?
6.Your sister help with a leaking tap?
7.If you have the skills, help the people you love with your talents and time. Does anyone prefer a beautiful gift where your family member ends up paying 19% interest because it was more than she could really afford, with her college loans, credit card debt, rent and life payments? For my daughter’s sake I say pay what you can afford but create something special that shows your love. My daughter is a good letter writer!
8.Put something towards a family member’s college or education loans. Graduates today are coming out with tens of thousands in debts, some well over $100,000. If you can afford to, help them with next month’s payment. Just as much as you can afford.
9.Buy one share of a stock as a gift. I just read that a $1,000 investment in Tesla 10 years ago is worth $21,000 today. Some potential gift! Imagine if you had gifted your favorite niece just one share of Tesla a few years ago. What if that gift encouraged her to learn about investing and she continued to buy Tesla shares? I’m betting now she can give you that Tiffany’s box. But maybe you would enjoy seeing her again and listening to her play the guitar and sing like an angel.
10.Make a donation in your family members name to their favorite church or charity. Christmas should be a time of giving to those in need.
11.Think of what gifts you have received that really touched you. Replicate that experience or better yet improve on it!
Retailers sell 30% of their products during the weeks leading up to Christmas. This is the time of year many retailers actually earn the majority of the year’s profits! That is the reason for all those super, delicious, fabulous, golden (you get the picture) sales they spend millions advertising. Especially car manufacturers! They are NOT giving THAT STUFF away but instead offering great “steals” to get you to shop and place YOUR HARD EARNED MONEY in their corporate accounts and than into the executives YUGEEE bonus.
2019- AROUND THE CORNER: Lets set up a successful 2019 holiday budget! About 25% of people set aside money for holiday and other gift expenses. Socking away funds throughout the year is one of the easiest ways to avoid increasing your credit card debt. Beginning in January 2019, start saving a portion of each paycheck for next year’s gift-giving costs.
Based on what you actually spend in 2018, determine what you can really afford and stash some money each month or paycheck to handle gifts. If you end up plunking down $1,200 for gifts, in 2018, you have to save $100 per month for next year, or better yet set a more realistic budget. Or, maybe next year you use the 12 months to plan on a gift from your heart. And by the way- BANK the $1200 or what you do not spend into your investment account or pay off your own debts!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Thank you to all my readers for reading this week’s blog and other blog articles.
I am a proud nerd (my beautiful wife and daughter told me so) investment and finance blogger, with a Rutgers, MBA and Harvard, Advanced Management. I am a successful investor in equities and real estate and happy to share my personal finance and investment lessons learned with you. I am NOT however, a licensed financial advisor. Please do not construe my suggestions on this blog, as recommendations for your personal situation. For individual finance advice please seek your own licensed CPA or financial advisors.