As we approach the holiday shopping season, we can get caught up with Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales events. The media hypes up these two days to get us excited about spending money for the holidays and oftentimes, I feel it is money we should use in other ways. I have put together some ideas that I hope will help get your juices flowing with alternatives to spending money on gifts that are soon forgotten after January 1st. Let’s try to remember the true reason and purpose for the season.
1. Time with friends and family – Instead of sending gifts to special friends or family members you haven’t seen in a while, take time to just spend quality time with them over a home cooked meal that you all take part in preparing. Share recipes and stories from your childhood that are a special part of your family’s traditions. I’ve always enjoyed visiting my friend’s families and learning about their traditions and funny stories of their childhood. So, to keep the memories from this day, one of you can take pictures while the others write down the recipes and stories. Afterward, you can create a memory book to share with one another. What a beautiful gift to have and reflect on your time together with one another.
2. Personal Interests Gifts – Think of gifts around personal interests. For example, I love creating ideas to decorate my home. So, my mother-in-law gave me an annual subscription to House Beautiful and Architectural Digest. Love the gift and it did not cost a fortune.
3. Supporting a Charity/Nonprofit – Definitely consider supporting a favorite charity or church outreach of your friend instead of giving a gift. You may want to donate your time instead of money. This is something you can do with your family and/or friends. What a way to enjoy your holiday and feel good at the same time.
4. Make a Plan and Stick with the Plan – Most importantly if you are buying gifts, have a plan and develop a budget. As an option, you may want to try my method. My husband and I agree at the beginning of the year the amount we want to spend during the holidays and we set aside 1/12th of the amount every month towards Christmas. This then totals our Christmas budget.
I hate going to the mall. So, if I am planning to go, I go early when the mall first opens. There are fewer people and you get first dibs on the store items for that day. Before I leave home, I gather my list of items I want to purchase and all my coupons so that I am capturing the additional discounts for the sale items I plan to purchase. I try to do it all in one day then I am done and I don’t have to go back to the mall where I may be tempted to spend more money unnecessarily.
Let’s not forget online shopping. Love it. I get to compare prices and I always look for stores that provide free shipping. Now with all the apps on our phones, we can compare using one of the many apps that allow for item price comparisons.
I also do my ornaments and holiday decorating shopping after the holidays. I am able to get all the novelty items at deep discounts after the holidays. You may even want to pick up gifts for next year as well as for birthdays throughout the year. This is a good idea especially if your children are invited to attend countless birthday parties during the year.
5. Knowledge is Power – Now that I have a 4-year old daughter, planning for her college education is a priority for my husband and me. For some I know, they have already slated specific colleges their child(ren) will attend. While we have not gone quite that far with planning for our daughter, I do understand how they feel. For them as for me, we believe that education is a key component to our child or children’s future success. That’s why I think gifting donations to educational savings for children is a wonderful idea especially since it is so important to many of us today to provide the best options and opportunities to our children.
Please know that I am always happy to talk with women like you about your current investments so that I may help you with these decisions and keep you on track to living your best possible life. Call me if you think I can help.