4 Minute Read
In the final weeks leading up to Christmas, retailers pull out all the stops—discounts, free shipping and buy-one-get-one offers.
But sales only stretch your dollar if you still have a dollar to spend. So after you’ve picked out gifts for everyone on your list, pull a shopping stop of your own.
Here are three good reasons to stick to your budget during the last-minute holiday hype:
1. Your kids (or grandkids) have enough.
You finally have everything on the kids’ wish lists. But with two whole weeks left until Christmas, you’re still in the mood to buy. And the sales are too good to be true right now!
Related: Create your list and check it twice with our free EveryDollar budget tool.
Plus, you didn’t spend as much on little Drew as you did on little Dennis. So you’ve got to balance out your spending, right?
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Try this instead: Knock out your entire list in one or two days so you’re not in the habit of visiting the mall or your favorite online shop constantly. And when your gifts are purchased and safely hidden away, find other ways to have fun.
Use your entertainment cash to spend more time with your kids or grandkids, instead of more money on their gifts. A popcorn-stringing, hot chocolate-drinking movie marathon should do the trick.
Memories last way longer than the hottest toys anyway. Those are usually forgotten by Easter.
2. Repeat this phrase: My gift is good enough.
Your sister called, and she wants to talk about Christmas. Translation: She wants to brag about the heaps of money she shelled out on gifts for everyone.
There’s the single-serve coffee machine for Mom and Dad, the luxury doll RV and 100-piece block set for the cousins, and the self-propelled vacuum for Gramps.
Suddenly those hand-crocheted scarves and homemade picture frames don’t seem so awesome. And you begin to mentally drive to the mall and pick out better gifts.
Before you get stuck in a mental traffic jam, hit the brakes. The whole reason you’re giving to your friends and family is to show them how much you care, not how much you can spend.
So if your gift is thoughtful and warm, it doesn’t matter how much it did or didn’t cost. What matters is that you’re giving from the heart.
This year, forget the comparisons. Just buy (or make) what you can afford and focus on the thought behind your gift, rather than the price of it. No one will love you any less—not even your sister.
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3. They’re not on your list.
You’re at a Christmas party and you’re having a great time, until someone unexpectedly hands you a gift. Normally, you’d be happy. But not this time.
This time, you begin to panic.
As you open up the decorative bag with a new journal and candle inside, you feel an awkward lie begin to creep up in your voice: “Oh no! I left your gift at the house!”
Only you didn’t. You actually didn’t buy them a gift. And now you’re ready to sprint to the nearest shop to pick up a totally useless but appropriately priced present in return.
Stop the games. Just be an adult and thank them for their kindness. If you really want to express your gratitude, write out a simple thank-you note as soon as you get home.
But don’t give out of guilt. If they’re not on your list, they’re not in your budget.
It’s easy to get carried away or guilted into overspending during the Christmas season. But once your shopping is done and your cash envelope is empty, stop spending.
Stick to your original plan and ignore the hype of the holidays. It’s not real anyway.
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