How to Avoid Overspending During Gift-Giving Season!

December 8, 2020

The pandemic prompted a major shift to online shopping where shoppers spent a record-setting $10.8 billion online on Cyber Monday — a 15.1% increase from 2019, according to Adobe Analytics data. Overall, Adobe forecasts $184 billion in online sales will be spent this holiday season, a 30% increase from 2019, as a result of concerns over the coronavirus spread.

We’ve been shopping online for days – from Black Friday to Cyber Monday and beyond. And if you plan to hit the keyboard again for even more Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza gifts, check out these tips to avoid overspending this season.

Suze’s Three Question Quiz 

If you have the money in savings and can stick to a budget, you won’t be wringing your hands in January when you get you bank statements. Suze Orman, a financial guru, offers sound advice before you jump online and start cyber shopping. 

To avoid making some bad financial decisions over the holidays, Suze poses the three-question quiz:

  • Is it kind?
  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it true?

Weird, right? Sounds like something Marie Kondo would say. But Suze explains it this way: “I will not do something if it is not kind, to me; necessary, for me; and true to what I need and what I believe.” 

Suze says a gift purchase that comes from the deepest, purest place in your heart can be a mistake if it not kind, to you. And by that she means, if you can’t really afford the gift, then it’s unkind to you and your near future. You’re not doing yourself any favors going into debt and if the recipient knew the gift was creating hardship – who would want that?!

Make a List

Making a shopping list helps track and remember the most important people in your life. It’s also a way to really contemplate your giving circle AND what the holidays are supposed to be about. That may mean making a gift instead of buying one. Whether it’s baked, knit, scrapbooked, glued, bedazzled or infused with essential oils – making something meaningful for the recipient gives them joy, and gives you a sense of accomplishment – and joy, too!

To start thinking about gifts to make, has ideas – from sweet succulent planters, herbed sachets, and jarred jam to homemade liqueurs and bath salts. No time to DIY? Check out these gift guides from House Beautiful and the Washington Post. Two different collections where you’ll find something that fits the Suze Orman quiz criteria for the ones you love.   

Another bit of advice from Forbes about giving better gifts is actually based on scientific research. Things like providing experiences in the way of an outdoor zip-line adventure or electric bike tour, or one of many convenient services. These are often welcomed over STUFF with greater appreciation. The time-saver services could be a week of home delivery meals, or landscaping services and you’ll find they are much-appreciated gifts.

Plan Ahead

While this tip may be too late for 2020, keep it in mind after the first of the year. If we could all set aside $100 a month in a separate savings account for gift-giving, it’s a lot easier than coming up with $1000 to pay for gifts at the end of the year. And keep a holiday mindset all year long so you’re ready to pick up bargains from now till next Christmas.

If you could use some financial planning advice for the holidays – or anytime – check out the Financial Planning Association’s list of planners near Southshore.

Set  a Limit to Spending

Is it the $900 consumer average? Is it less? You might have an amount in mind, but don’t forget things like year-end charitable donations, wrapping paper, shipping, holiday cards, postage, tips for service providers (mail carriers, house cleaners, home healthcare workers, babysitters, trash collectors, hair stylists, sidewalks and lawn care helpers). It all adds up and while you may not think of it as part of your holiday spend, it is!

Suze, and a slew of other financial experts recommend using only cash. When you limit yourself to the cash you have in savings for holiday gifts — or a debit card with no overdraft protection — you’re much more likely to buy only what you can afford.

Enjoying the Holidays in Southshore 

While the weather may be getting chillier as we approach official winter status, the master-planned community of Southshore is readying for holiday celebrations close to home and hearth! If you don’t live here yet, isn’t it time to explore the beautiful options in brand new homes from Taylor Morrison, Century Communities, Richmond American Homes or Toll Brothers? Life at the Lake looks like this – stunning ranch and two-story designs – priced between the $400s and the $700s.