The holidays are coming, and fast. You know what that means…gifts for your significant other, parents, brothers, sisters, boss, your mailman , the list goes on and on! With two months or so to go, it’s a great time to get ahead and start breaking the purchases up! Let's dive deeper.
Take the time to plan out your purchases – figure out who you are getting gifts for, then what you are getting them and how much you’re going to spend. This will give you an idea of if you can afford the gifts for everyone, or if you need to back off on some people, or save a little extra to meet it. I know a lot of this may sound like common sense, but trust me; writing down what you plan on spending will help. It may even give you an “Oh Shit” moment when you realize you spend too much – it’ll also keep you from just buying random stuff at the store.
Mom Flowers & Candle $100
Dad Steelers Grill Set $75
Fiance Jewelry of sorts $200
Boss Bottle of Whiskey $50
Mailman Starbucks GC $10
Based off of my example, I need $435 just for basics. The average American spends about $900 on Christmas. Where am I going to come up with all this cash?! Don't use credit cards unless you can pay them off IN FULL...EVERY month!
One of the things I do on years where I don’t have a ton of expendable cash is try and make gifts for people. With parents, it seems to be words that mean the most, not things, so write them a letter, thank them for everything they’ve given you! Your mailman? A simple gift card to Starbucks should do. With my fiancé, if it was an off year, I’d make her favorite dinner and take her to a place she loves.
In order to make sure everyone's holiday is special, I take a small amount out of each pay check - I use an app called Acorns. Twice a month I take out $50. By the end of the year I have $1200! It gives me plenty of room to get all the gifts I need and not leave anyone out.
We live in a society where buying things and posting them on social media creates an image we want everyone to see. Don’t put yourself in debt just to create an image. If you’re struggling with debt, shoot me an e-mail, we can sit down and talk about a plan to get you out. It takes time, but it’s definitely doable! Even if you want help mapping out your finances for the next few months or year, let me know. ALEX@LIFEAFTERGRAD.COM. Do it. We can talk - I will hold you accountable.