My wife and I never go shopping for Christmas gifts on Black Friday. I don’t care how good the deals are the crowds are just too much for us. We are more Cyber Monday or wait until the last minute type of people.
Buying Christmas gifts is always fun for us though because we love to spend money on the people we care about. It’s become even better recently since we’ve learned how to save money throughout the year to spend at Christmas. Now all of our Christmas gifts are paid for in cash and we never see a credit card bill come January.
While we all get excited about spending money on the people we love, it can get seriously out of hand. What happens in December can have short and long-term financial consequences if you don’t keep your spending on Christmas gifts in check. So before you make any purchases this year here are five simple questions you should ask yourself as you buy Christmas gifts for those special people in your life.
Ask These Before Buying Christmas Gifts
It may seem tedious to run these questions through your head before buying those Christmas gifts. Doing so however might keep you from buying for the wrong reason, buying something impractical or buying too much gift. If anything they will help you slow down and analyze why you are buying that present.
Question #1: Can I afford it?
This isn’t a wink-wink, blow-off question you ask right before you swipe your credit card at the register. You have to ask this question before you go shopping or you will get caught up in the excitement of the purchase. It’s funny how spending money makes us lose all reason.
So prepare and analyze your budget for Christmas gifts ahead of time. Plan out how much you will spend for all the people in your life. Give yourself a range (ex. $50-75 per person) and stick within that. Spend only what you truly can afford…and by afford I mean what you can spend without going into debt. If you have to go into debt to buy it you can’t afford it.
Question #2: Is this overkill?
I love the commercials where a wife receives a $10,000 diamond ring for Christmas. Or the husband who is surprised to see in his snowy driveway a brand new luxury car perfectly wrapped in a bow. C’mon…where is this happening? Who is buying these types of gifts without their spouses’ knowledge?
I won’t lie to you. The thought of buying an incredible gift like that for my wife gets me excited. I love to spend with the best of them.
But I wouldn’t buy an expensive gift if I thought it would lead to a moment where the recipient feels awkward for getting it. And I certainly wouldn’t do it if the purchase led me into debt. Overdoing it on expensive Christmas gifts may lead to more regret than you’d wish.
Question #3: Why am I buying this?
This is a really important question because it speaks to motive? Why are you buying those Christmas gifts? Is it out of guilt? Expectation? Obligation? Are you trying to send a passive-aggressive message to the recipient? “Hey honey, here’s a new vacuum cleaner…get to work!”
Motive is huge. We can buy for all the wrong reasons at Christmas time. Check your attitude at the door before spend money to make sure your heart is in the right place.
Question #4: Is this useful? (or practical)
Spend some time thinking about the person for whom are buying Christmas gifts. Don’t think about whether or not they’d appreciate the gift. We all appreciate that people think about us even if the gift stinks.
Instead think about whether the gift is really useful. Can it be put to practical use somewhere, somehow? Will it be beneficial for them to some degree? If it is, the recipient will appreciate it even more.
Question #5 Is this really for me?
Last year almost 57% of holiday shoppers planned to take advantage of the holiday deals to buy non-Christmas gifts for themselves. Do you see anything wrong with that? I don’t. It’s a great time of year to take advantage of all the awesome deals.
The focus of this question deals with purchasing Christmas gifts that are more for us than the person we buy it for. Husbands is that 60” HDTV really for her or for you to watch the big game? Wives is that Netflix subscription really for him or for you to get caught up on your favorite TV show?
It’s OK to think about yourself at Christmas. Just don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s all about someone else when it’s really not.
Shopping for Christmas gifts can be so much fun. But you must exercise some responsibility and wisdom as you spend money. If you don’t, the debt will pile up and follow you into the new year. Life will be miserable for several months (or longer) as you attempt to pay the gifts off.
Make sure all your purchases are done within the framework of your budget and make sure they are done for the right reasons, to bless other people. You’ll save more money that way and maximize the appreciative factor as your gifts are being opened.
Questions: Do you ever overspend on Christmas gifts? How do you go about determining what to buy the people in your life? Have you ever bought something at Christmas that was really for you? What’s the most impractical Christmas gift you ever received?